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From West To East
Posted on: 16th August, 2019
This week we’re delighted to share the news that our distillery family is growing once more as we introduce you to our new brand ambassador for the east of Scotland, Calum Barker.
Hailing from the Black Isle, just north of the Highland capital of Inverness, he’s no stranger to the island way of life with his family coming from our northern neighbours in the Isle of Lewis.
His grandparents lived in the small Hebridean village of Gress where his grandfather Rod Mackenzie founded three Gaelic choirs still going strong today. They had four daughters and three of them, including his mother Eilidh, formed the famous Gaelic folk trio, 'Mackenzie'.
A native Gaelic speaker and singer himself, 25-year-old Calum is also a keen outdoorsman which should stand him in good stead when out and about meeting the people behind the many great bars and restaurants pouring our Isle of Harris Gin, as well as connecting with our Click and Collect partners.
Prior to joining us here at the Isle of Harris Distillery Calum lived in Poland for a year working as brand ambassador for Chivas Regal so we’re confident in his skills and that he knows exactly what lies ahead of him as he tells us…
"A new challenge for me is to spread the good word about our Click and Collect service. It is an incredibly simple procedure, but we are relative pioneers in this style of distribution and purchasing. For a lot of our customers, it is a new way to buy a product but with just three clicks you can get hold of our gorgeous gin bottles straight away, no waiting for delivery."
Calum getting to grips with our island spirit...
Last week we had Calum join us here in Harris so that we could share all aspects of distillery life from the distilling and bottling of island spirit to the accounts and admin work behind the scenes.
Of course, there was also some sampling to be done along the way with both our new-make spirit and Isle of Harris Gin being shared as we told our story during his distillery tours.
‘I am a huge Isle of Harris Gin fan. During summer I really enjoy an Isle of Harris Gin with Walter Gregor’s Tonic, a couple of big ice cubes and a hefty wedge of grapefruit.’
But if it’s been a particularly long week then a different Isle of Harris Gin serve is sometimes required…
Sharing our story at the distillery.
And when he’s not out meeting with our on-trade customers or sharing our island spirit then you’ll often find Calum, a keen hillwalker, hiking up one of Scotland’s many mountains and maybe even singing in his native Gaelic language, although perhaps not at the same time!
"I’ve been involved in a number of music projects over the years and am looking to continue singing in Gaelic whenever the opportunity arises. Now that I’m back in Scotland, I’ll hopefully be out mountain biking a bit more too. And, once the snow comes, then I love a bit of ski-touring and finishing the day with a warm fire and a healthy dram."
We look forward to sharing that dram and more of Calum’s adventures in the years that lie ahead but for now, we wish him every success in sharing our western island home with the east of Scotland.
Story by Shona Maclennan, Assistant Storyteller.