How do you become a Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador?

17 December 2015

As the world’s most awarded* single malt Scotch whisky, we’re hardly surprised when people get in touch to ask us how they can go about joining our distinguished team of Brand Ambassadors.

Ambassadors for any single malt whisky, let alone Glenfiddich, occupy an enviable role in the drinks industry; their line of work - if you can call it “work” – is truly unique and we’re lucky to have some of the most revered individuals in the business introducing Glenfiddich to palates old and new in all four corners of the globe.

Obviously the role of our Ambassadors goes above and beyond just the whisky though, so we recently asked Ian Millar, our Global Brand Ambassador, and Beth Havers, our Brand Ambassador for Canada, if we could interrupt their busy schedules to find out more about their coveted roles and just what it takes to become a Glenfiddich Ambassador…

What career paths do people follow to become a Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador and what made you decide to apply for the role?

Ian Millar: I am often asked that very question - “how do you become a whisky Ambassador?” or “how do I get your job?”

The answer to the second question is, “you don`t”.

At William Grant and Sons, our Ambassadors come from a range of backgrounds but many of them have experience in bartending. Some have been responsible for setting up new bars and a few more come from marketing backgrounds.

Some of our Ambassadors came through a part-time route, i.e. those who had full time jobs but had a genuine interest in whisky so took on part-time positions as associates that eventually led into full-time positions. It’s easy to become hooked as the work is very social and is also great fun.

Personally, I have been part of distilleries my whole working life, mostly those that had visitor centres; entertaining consumers has always been a vital part of the every day job, so it was an easy step for me to progress into the Ambassador role.

Beth Havers: I started in the beverage alcohol industry when I was in university as a summer sales representative for a spirits company.  When I began my professional career here in Canada I was working for a larger spirits company in a number of different roles. I eventually became a Sommelier and developed a great taste for all things related to wines and spirits but I had a particular love for whisky. 

When I heard about the Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador role becoming available with William Grant and Sons, I jumped on the opportunity. Luckily my application was successful as it really has been the dream job!

Glenfiddich Ambassadors

What kind of training does a Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador typically go through?

IM: The use of Ambassadors in the spirits business has grown significantly over the years as brands begin to appreciate the immense impact a great Ambassador can have on a brand.

The training of Ambassadors at the home of `their spirit` is essential and our Ambassadors are back at our spiritual home in Dufftown at least once a year for a refresh. It’s also a great way to emotionally reconnect them with everything ‘Glenfiddich’, if you like.

Here at Glenfiddich, our new Ambassadors will be sent to the Distillery for at least a full week to make them more familiar with our rich history and heritage and the family behind it. Understanding the incredible process behind our whisky and what makes it different is also a huge focus in training.

BH: Ian has set us up with some pretty spectacular experiences as a group of Ambassadors over the years. Most recently, the experience of travelling to Denmark to meet Hans-Henrik Hansen, the largest collector of Glenfiddich in the world, was a real treat; Hans and his wife Lone invited us into their home and were fantastic hosts. We got to see his collection too, which is stunning! Seeing so many Glenfiddich editions from throughout the ages is something I will never forget. 

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a Glenfiddich Ambassador?

BH: I have three things. Firstly, the whisky; William Grant was a great visionary in 1887 by having the faith to start the Distillery. I think he would be proud that 128 years later, Glenfiddich is still producing the best single malt around. Secondly, the travel; Canada is such an amazing country and this job gives me the opportunity to see it all! I can wake up one morning on the east coast of St. John’s Newfoundland and go to bed on the west coast in Victoria. Thirdly, the people; not only am I part of a great global team who I meet up with at least once a year in Dufftown, but I also get to be part of the great whisky community – they’re like a second family. It’s amazing to think of the people I have met and the stories I have heard over a dram of liquid gold.

IM: It is a truly rewarding job as you get instant gratification from your audience (providing you do a good job!) and, regardless of the spirit you represent, you can become very popular, which is always nice! But obviously being an Ambassador for as popular a spirit as Glenfiddich takes it to another level entirely.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become an Ambassador?

BH: Firstly I would say taste! Taste as many different whiskies (responsibly!) as you can. This will really help you develop your palate and gain a better understanding of what you like, the different styles of distilleries and what oak does to a whisky as it ages. Secondly, I would say get out and meet people; talk to Ambassadors; learn of their experiences and what their roles entail. Not only are they chalked full of whisky knowledge but they’re also able to let you know when positions become available.  Lastly, have fun! Whisky is meant to be enjoyed around great company; have a dram, take a seat and chat with those around you. It’s the best feeling in the world!  

IM: I’d say the biggest challenges that Ambassadors face is the ‘day job’. When I say ‘day job’ I mean the necessary administration that goes with the role. You’re responsible for the market and event reports, the travel arrangements, as well as the logistics of glassware, whisky and of course audience management. Some markets have support for all of the above and others you’re very much on your own doing everything so you have to be good at managing yourself.

Of course that’s just one small facet of the role and I can testify that it’s all very much worth it. Always remember though, you’ll have to show a potential employer you can handle all the smaller details that some people often don’t think about.

So, why not take Beth’s advice and get in contact with our team of Ambassadors?

You can contact Ian Millar and Beth Havers via Twitter at @distillermillar and @Whiskybeth

Ian Millar and Beth Havers

Glenfiddich Ambassadors