Meet the Team

The best whisky needs more than the purest water, top quality barley, state-of-the-art equipment and the best casks money can buy. Crucially, it needs truly gifted professionals to help guide and shape not only the spirits, but the entire experience; from tours to dining, from shopping to tasting. Paul Currie, our Managing Director, and Chairman Nigel Mills have gathered around them a formidable team; some with masses of experience, some with little experience but huge amounts of enthusiasm and ability. Meet some of our faces behind The Lakes Distillery.

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Nigel Mills

NIGEL MILLS, CBE

Chief Executive

Nigel, former convenience store retail player, has his work cut out for him owning the Trout Hotel in Cockermouth alongside running The Lakes Distillery. 

“It’s the ideal synergy between the two businesses – the perfect combination to boost tourism in the North Lakes.”

PAUL CURRIE

Founder and Chief Operating Officer

As the son of renowned whisky man (MD of a global whisky business) and one part of a father-son team behind the Isle of Arran Distillers, Paul has whisky in his veins. 

“England is part of a global evolution of new distillers.”

Paul Currie

DR. ALAN RUTHERFORD, OBE

Chairman

We benefit enormously from Alan’s expertise as the former production director at Diageo and a leading, much respected figure in the whisky world. 

DHAVALL GANDHI

Production Director & Chief Whiskymaker 

Dhavall joined the Distillery after fine-tuning his skills at Macallan whiskies and will be instrumental in crafting the Lake District's only single malt whisky.

"This state-of-the-art distillery offers a blank canvas and a potential for creativity that is unrivalled within the industry. This is my opportunity to continue telling the story through our brands."

David Robinson

DAVID ROBINSON

Chief Finance Officer

 David is here to support each teams financial performance and keep everything running smoothly.

“Here at The Lakes Distillery no two days are the same- the team are great and all have a genuine passion for what they do.”

MARIA DUDDIN

Director of Business Development & UK Sales

 With over 15 years of industry experience, Maria's expertise help take the brand from strength to strength.

“Driving the sales and growth of the Distillery portfolio-leading the sales team in all areas; Wholesale, retail, Multiple grocery, Online retailers and UK travel retail. Ensuring distribution and visibility of our award winning brands.

 

Maria Duddin
Kirsty Taylor

KIRSTY TAYLOR

Marketing Director 

Kristy brings a wealth of experience to the team having worked in marketing for over 10 years. 

 

KAREN RIPLEY

Head of Digital

Karen has developed around 15 years of marketing experience and loves to brings fresh ideas and creativity to our projects. 

“We've got enough stories to fill a book (so much so that we wrote our own!). I love it when our customers engage with us and get involved with the distillery.”

Karen Ripley
Terry Laybourne

TERRY LAYBOURNE, MBE

Culinary Consultant 

With years of world-class hospitality experience, renowned restaurateur Terry acts in a mentoring role to our head chef and provides culinary direction for our Michelin-guide recommended Bistro.

“We run a bistro that takes its food and drink seriously - both for tourists and locals alike.”

ROBERT DON

Head Chef

Locally-sourced ‘produce with style’ suits Rob's approach to designing his menu for Bistro at the Distillery. Stylish but hearty food feature at the Bistro, with everything from cakes to Sunday roasts.
 
“My team are the most important ingredient to me. Alongside salt!”
Robert Don
Tom Williamson

TOM WILLIAMSON

Bistro and Bar Manager

Having worked in the hospitality industry since the age of 14 and working his way up from full-time server to manager in less than 2 years, Tom is perfect for ensuring that all runs smoothly in the Bistro.

“The most important thing about hospitality is excellent personal service.”

BRIAN HILL

Tour & Retail Manager

Brian knows the ingredients to make an outstanding whisky tour, having worked in Scottish whisky tourism industry for many years.

“Making the tour come alive is critical – my team is passionate about the product and the care we put into making it.”

Brian Hill
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