Meet Katherine Condon, Micro Distillery Supervisor at Irish Distillers
Read her interview.
What is your professional course?
I graduated from Process and Chemical Engineering in 2014 and started the graduate distiller program in August of that year. Since then I became distiller in the Micro Distillery before being appointed the role of Process Technologist. Early this year I took up the position of Day Production Supervisor. I started working with Irish Distillers straight out of university, so it’s been all whiskey talk the past four years.
What did you enjoy most from your Jameson graduate experience?
Experiencing Irish Distillers in its entirety – from Grain to Glass and everything in between. I got the chance to spend time in head office where I learned about the business and marketing side of Irish Distillers. I spent time in our bottling and logistics plant in Fox and Geese with the majority of my time at the distillery in Midleton. My brand ambassador duties allowed me to engage with consumers at key accounts. These events are a true insight into how our whiskeys are enjoyed, and the convivial occasions, that we, as a company, are associated with.
How was your experience at the micro distillery, what did you learn?
Coming from a process engineering background, distillation is one of the core fundamentals of my course, it’s the bread and butter of what I had studied. The Micro Distillery is an excellent facility to trial different distillate styles. It was fantastic to be involved in the Micro distillery from the very start, commissioning and producing different spirits. It’s a great playground where you can push the boundaries of Irish whiskey. I learned about the vast differences in flavor when using different cereals, how different cuts in the distillation process can enhance different congeners and what it takes to produce a well-balanced pot still distillate.
What does innovation mean in a spirits company?
Innovation is the key to success for any company. In a highly competitive industry, it’s very important to diversify and be current, while staying through to the brand. Innovation is paramount for us at Irish Distillers, especially with so many new distilleries in Ireland coming on stream. In 2013, there were 4 distilleries in Ireland, today there are 16 in production, so having the competitive edge is vital to keep us the number one Irish whiskey brand and innovation is a key driver for this.
How good is Pernod Ricard to enable younger generations to learn from senior expert?
Whiskey production is a time honored task. I experienced this by working closely with Brian Nation in the Micro distillery. Observing a master at its craft, enables the younger generation to witness and appreciate what it entails to produce the worlds most enjoyed whiskies. The launch of our newest brand Method and Madness tells a great story of how the Masters of Midleton work closely with apprentices, passing on the experience and knowledge of what they have learned before them. These Master/Apprentice collaborations are very evident across the distillery; in distillation, maturation, blending and the cooperage.
What makes you so passionate about working at Jameson and Pernod Ricard?
Every drop of Jameson is made in Cork; my home county. I am so proud to work for a local but global brand that can be accessed in over 80 markets worldwide.
I am very lucky to work with wonderful people who make it all worthwhile. It’s easy to be passionate when you see the hard work and effort that everyone puts in and I have great mentors, both male and female, who have helped me get to where I am today. Thanks to Pernod Ricard, our brands have grown from strength to strength. Success can bring about its own challenges such as keeping up with the demands and production targets, but these challenges are what keep us eager, excited and passionate for the brands. It’s very rewarding to see a job well done.
What advice would you give to a young women professional starting her career?
Pursue your passion and don’t be afraid of what challenges you. Say yes to every opportunity. It will only make you stronger.