Meet Shona Macleod, Guest Team Manager

Shona on the croft

The Harris Distillery will be The Social Distillery, a busy, working building but with open doors and a genuine welcome for those who wish to join us. Set in the heart of Tarbert, just yards from the harbour walls, the burnished copper that clads our guest entrance gives fair warning of the warmth that lies within. As well as the serious business of making our malt whisky and gin we’ll be keeping the peat fire burning here as we meet and greet the new faces and old who come across our threshold each new day.

But before we have the pleasure of meeting you, we’d like you to meet Shona Macleod, the Harris woman with the privilege of playing host to all our future guests. Shona is a Tarbert girl and no stranger to the art of good local hospitality, her family having strong island roots and their own background in Harris hostelries. Shona left the island to study hospitality management and learned her trade in restaurants and hotels in Glasgow, but as is often the way, the pull of her Harris home brought her back to our shores again, marrying her husband Donnie and bringing their children Mary (3) and Calum (6) into the flock. 

After bringing her past experience to the renowned, family-owned Hotel Hebrides in her home town, the news of a new distillery on her doorstep fired up her desire to take on new challenges and in December last year Shona became part of the team, as our indispensable Guest Team Manager. Now overseeing a team of ten, she’ll be running our canteen, tours and retail operations but most importantly be charged with ensuring all those who step through our doors enjoy the heartiest of Harris welcomes.

We want people to really feel part of what we are doing here in Harris”  Shona says, “whether it’s getting a taste of delicious local produce, learning about our island while they take a tour, leaving with something special from an island artisan or having a heartfelt conversation with one of our helpful local staff, we want to do things a little differently.”

She hopes the distillery can be a real hub of activity, with locals and non-locals alike, mixing and meeting in a very special place, sharing their own stories and partaking not just in a dram but in the bigger picture. 

“We don’t want to be simply a tourist attraction, we aim to be the most welcoming place, where people can come and go, we’ll be as much about Harris and its people as we are about whisky, staffed with amazing local people who will make people's time with us memorable.”

Shona is looking forward most to experiencing people’s reaction to the new distillery, the meeting with new friends and old, listening to their own ideas and input and being a part of the story as it evolves. Meantime, however, she has the enviable task of tasting and testing some of the offerings to come, including a little broadening of her own whisky palette. 

I love an island dram, the sea and smoke of Talisker or Lagavulin…but I’m still learning!” she says with a big smile. 

It’s a difficult job, it seems, but we’re delighted to have found someone like Shona to do it…



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