James is the Business Development Director at Shetland Reel. Based in Edinburgh, James looks after expanding our sales both in the UK and abroad. He also assists with branding & product development.
How did you get involved in the drinks industry?
After time in both the Royal Hong Kong Police and with the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders my first job in the drinks industry was with Corney & Barrow one of the oldest wine merchants in the UK. I then worked as the Wine Development Manager for Matthew Clark in Scotland before setting up the Scottish Office for Hatch Mansfield looking after the sales of brands such as Louis Jadot, Taittinger, Errazuriz and Villa Maria in Scotland and the North of England. I then joined Tullibardine Distillery as their International Sales Manager and Brand Ambassador looking after Canada, the USA, Europe, The Nordics, Russia and every country East into Asia and China.
What do you enjoy most about working for Shetland Distillery?
The remoteness of the distillery and that feeling of being at the top of the British Isles is amazing. But what is special is that feeling of bringing something to the community of Unst and then seeing our products being enjoyed not just here in the UK but all around the world.
Where is your favourite place in Shetland to enjoy a gin?
I try to visit Unst a couple of times a year and you cannot beat sitting above the beach at Haroldswick with Saxa Vord behind you looking out to sea. Of course you have to also go to the Dowry in Lerwick too.
What it is your signature cocktail?
All of them! Of course I would say that but my favourite has to be Ocean Sent on its own as a Dry Martini with either an olive or a cocktail onion making it a Gibson. This way you truly taste the essence of the Ocean Sent and its connection to the bladderwrack seaweed used in the distillation process.
What makes Shetland Reel special to you?
Being part of a company that is bringing business to a small and isolated community at the very top of the British Isles. There is a real feeling of heritage too when you are at Saxa Vord you cannot help but feel there is a presence of the people who lived on these amazing islands over the years going back to when the Vikings ruled here. There is a great feeling of space, tranquillity and peace.