The Apprentice.

As a young distillery, these first few years of our working life have brought a number of memorable moments so far. Tonight, we’re delighted to have reached another milestone, as we announce the recruitment of a sixth distiller, this time giving the opportunity for a local young person to join us as we undertake our first distilling apprenticeship.

One of the founding goals for the Isle of Harris Distillery was to create stable jobs in a fragile economy, where employment can sometimes be difficult to find, and often subject to seasonal insecurity. We’ve made great strides in this ambition, growing our team here in Tarbert from ten local men and women to almost thirty full-time, year-round roles.

We were also determined to give the young people of our island a chance to gain skills and experience within our business and wider industry. Whether learning about retail and marketing or accounts and customer service, we’re proud to be working with a number of school-leavers who have joined us here in Tarbert as we grow.


But now, with the assistance of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (our thanks go to Dolina Smith, Apprenticeship Manager at the Comhairle for her support in this endeavour), we are able to offer a fully accredited apprenticeship in the art of making our Outer Hebridean spirits. 

It’s a small but vital step in addressing the wider issues around population decline here in the islands. Our managing director Simon Erlanger tells us… 

“The distillery’s mission has always been to provide opportunities for the people of Harris to remain on the island to live and work. In 2018, Scotland’s Year of Young People, it is particularly exciting to launch our first distilling apprenticeship. All our distillers have been recruited on the island and now we would like to further that by starting the next generation of distilling expertise.”

The new apprenticeship position will see the successful candidate take a central role in the creation of our award-winning Isle of Harris Gin, and the production of our eagerly anticipated ‘The Hearach’ single malt whisky. 


 Working to the highest quality standards, they will receive full training in all aspects of our spirit production here at the distillery, from procurement of raw materials and mashing to the casking and bottling of the final product.

Their hard work and dedication will eventually lead to the award of the Spirits Industry Vocational Qualification which is recognised by the Scotch Whisky Association. With this award, their apprenticeship will end and their career in the craft of distilling will truly begin, a life-long process which may take years to master.

We hope that many more of our islanders will follow in these first footsteps, each building on the legacy of the distillers who go before them, creating new generations of spirit-makers here in the Isle of Harris as the decades go by.

Together, our sights and spirit are set on far horizons as we look to a bright future for all who choose to call our island their home.

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