Unbottling opportunities on National Manufacturing Day: Chivas Brothers’ celebrate careers in whisky

Posted on 28 Sep 2023 by The Manufacturer

There’s never been a better time to join the Scotch whisky industry, which is undergoing an exciting period of transformation as it embraces innovation and new technologies. Scotch not only contributes substantially to the country's economy but also fosters a sense of community for those that are lucky to be a part of it.

To celebrate National Manufacturing Day, a day dedicated to recognising the importance of manufacturing in driving economic growth, sustainable innovation and job creation, on 28th September we’re opening our doors at Strathisla distillery, home of Chivas Regal and Royal Salute, by hosting a Career Open Day to showcase the diversity of the sector, the wide range of highly skilled jobs on offer and the amazing opportunities for reskilling and career development within Chivas Brothers.

One of the things I’m most proud about at Chivas Brothers is that we’re constantly breaking stereotypes. There’s no single mould for those who belong in the manufacturing sector, including within the world of whisky. At Chivas Brothers we embrace individuals from a broad spectrum of communities and abilities, from the remote isles of Scotland, throughout Speyside to bustling cities like Glasgow and London.

For example, my colleague Kelsey Bruce, Distillery Operations Manager at Chivas Brothers, started as a seasonal guide at Strathisla over a decade ago. Since then, she’s worked as a Distillery Operations Technician, a Team Leader at Dalmunach and Scapa, and last year she was promoted to her current role as Distillery Operations Manager based at Strathisla, Glen Keith and Glentauchers.

“Chivas Brothers has invested in me and my development from the start, giving me valuable insights and knowledge into the industry. I love that I get to work with an incredible team every day, in an exciting industry, and that I’m encouraged to be bold and innovative to help shape the future of whisky.”

Scott Lamb, Business Support Manager, Operations at Chivas Brothers, has also had a notable career journey at Chivas Brothers. Scott began as a temporary worker in warehousing in 2003 and returned in 2008 as a Distillery Operations Technician. Over the years, he’s worked at various distilleries, played a key role in a new site’s construction, and was promoted to Business Support Manager. Recently, he took on the role of Production Technical, Innovation, and Support Manager.

“My journey at Chivas Brothers is a testament to the incredible opportunities within the whisky industry. From starting as a temporary worker to overseeing operations and innovation, my experience has proved that wherever you start, can be vastly different to where you might end up. The manufacturing industry has never been a more exciting place to build a career, so I’d encourage anyone with a passion for whisky and production to come on board.”

Kelsey and Scott’s journeys, from seasonal guides and warehouse temps to roles in management, highlight the growth and development opportunities available within Chivas Brothers and the wider industry, as well as the exciting and innovative opportunities that are on offer.

Manufacturing is key to shaping the future of sustainable Scotch. As whisky producers, we have a collective responsibility to lead from the front, driving innovation to reduce energy used in the distillation process and to support decarbonisation.

Earlier this year, we made our expertise and learnings from the successful integration of enhanced heat recovery technologies in distillation ‘open source’ to encourage distillers to work together to create a sustainable future for Scotch. For this technology to be rolled out effectively, as well as many other sustainable solutions, our sector requires developing green skills among the industry’s current workforce and for the next generation of employees.

We’re always opening our doors to new talent to support us in this amazing journey, and National Manufacturing Day is a reminder to continue to celebrate the craftmanship and innovation that defines this industry.

For those seeking a career in manufacturing within the whisky industry, here are my top tips:

  1. Technology is changing the way the world of whisky operates, and engaging with automation, computers and even robotics can be part of the daily job. Be open to different types of roles as they are constantly evolving, and we need everything from robot supervisors to data analysts.
  2. Employees play a vital role in driving sustainability in the industry. Green skills are fundamentally changing the nature of recruitment and the type of training that’s required, so embrace learning new skills to help deliver a more sustainable future.
  3. The importance of teamwork and community within the industry must be recognised. Whisky production is a collaborative effort that relies on the skills and dedication of a diverse group of individuals. Those who embrace the opportunity to learn from experienced colleagues and contribute to the industry’s continued success, will be the ones who thrive.
  4. Finally, we must be bold and innovative. The whisky industry welcomes fresh ideas and approaches. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and contribute to the ongoing evolution of whisky production, to help to shape the future of whisky.

If you’re looking for a rewarding career, our Open Day at Strathisla Distillery which is taking place on Thursday 28th September 2023 promises to be a gateway for opportunities within the world of Scotch whisky. Come and experience the world behind the bottle!

To find out more about Chivas Brothers, please visit our careers page here.

To read similar articles, check out our People & Skills channel.

About the author

Brian MacAulay is Malt Distilling & Operations Director at Chivas Brothers. He is also Chairman of Developing the Young Workforce Moray.