To celebrate International Women’s Day we caught up with Esme Studholme, the Tours & Retail Assistant Manager of our Lakes Distillery shop.
Today marks a very special occasion across the world as we recognise women’s achievements. We are proud to have so many inspirational women working here across the business.
Esme Studholme, our Tours & Retail Assistant Manager, kindly gave us a much deeper insight into some of the challenges facing women in the whisky industry today.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Trying to pitch the tour to everyone’s interest levels – we get many avid whisky people mixed with people who haven’t even tried whisky before. I have an hour talk with them where I tell them what we do while maintaining their interest on a tour around the distillery, I do find this part the most rewarding part. I enjoy it when people ask obscure or difficult questions allowing me to provide more in depth knowledge. It sometimes surprises people how much we know.
What do you think are the biggest issues facing women today in the whisky industry?
I do believe it is still a male dominated industry… However in the tour team we have quite a lot of talented female tour guides providing an excellence guest experience by discussing the complex processes behind our award winning spirits.
As a noser for the company – as well as two other women, it shows right there a very good reason for us to have a place in the industry- females apparently have a better palette and sensory awareness when it comes to smelling and tasting the spirit and whisky. It is also very important when it comes to the recipes for the whisky and the flavour profiles of the maturing whisky.
Why do you think diversity is so important in the workplace?
Diversity is always important, it keeps things interesting, if we were all the same it would be boring. When customers ask which whisky is the best and what flavours they should pick up I always find it a difficult question to answer, because everyone’s unique so they might taste or nose different flavours.
What advice would you give you for women considering a career in the whisky industry?
Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t do something. Follow your instincts and what makes you happy. Don’t go to work because you have to – do it because you want to, because you love your job. Whisky may be a male dominated industry but it does not mean that women do not have a place in it – whether it be in tours or retail, distilling, maturing or blending – women have just as much right to be there.