Emma Millar, distiller, Hinch Distillery
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I’m a distiller at Hinch Distillery, which is located just outside Ballynahinch. I’ve always been passionate about food and drink and I knew I wanted a career in this area. At university I completed a degree in Food Design and Nutrition and a Master’s in Brewing and Distilling. My first job as a distiller was at a gin distillery in the Scottish Borders which made four different types of gin. It was also home to Scotland’s largest residential Gin School, where people could learn how to make their own unique gin.
In August 2020, I moved home for my dream job – to become a distiller at Hinch Distillery. I currently live on the North Antrim coast and I love spending time outdoors, walking or catching up with friends and family (when allowed).
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY INVOLVE?
Is there a typical day? On any given day I could be involved in a wide range of tasks - disgorging, blending, reducing and bottling spirit. The role also requires mashing, fermenting and distilling New Make Spirit for casking or distilling gin. Then there are the other aspects of the business that I get involved in, as teamwork is required to get various tasks completed. Occasionally I am the person tasked with driving the forklift, loading finished goods, doing admin or completing paperwork for Revenue and Customs.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE?
Becoming a distiller for Hinch Distillery. It’s given me a fantastic insight into all aspects of the whiskey and gin industry. I’m proud to be part of this exciting journey, producing award winning drinks such as Hinch Irish Whiskey and Ninth Wave Irish Gin. I thrive on the fact that every day is different and it’s great to work with such an enthusiastic team. There’s a collective passion for the premium products and a commitment to excellence. It’s a very inspiring environment to work in.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
The variety and the people.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT TASK?
Delegating, but I am getting better at it. I’m learning that you don’t need to do everything yourself and that colleagues are keen to help.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
Two pieces of advice that I value are:
1. ‘Do a job that you love and you will never work a day in your life’. I know it may sound cliché, but honestly, it’s true.
2. To achieve the goals that you set yourself requires work. I’ve found this to be true, throughout my studies and in my career.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST GRIPE?
I don’t have one.
WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE?
I’d love to be naturally musical. How amazing would it be to just sit down at a piano and play something off the top of your head?
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS/AMBITIONS?
Working with Hinch Distillery, I plan to support the brand as it grows. I’m really looking forward to creating more award-winning spirits that are recognised in the global arena as being industry leading.
WHOM DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?
Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand. I admire how she handled the entirety of the Covid-19 pandemic. She is a strong female leader and I think she is a brilliant role model for young aspiring females who want to be leaders in their own industry. With only 5% of the world leaders female, I think it speaks volumes about the need to have strong female role models.
She has the entire world watching her as she paves the way for a better society, leading with headline topics, most recently the improvement of women’s rights.
WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE?
The North Coast, in particular White Park Bay. I have been lucky enough to have been to lots of amazing places, but there is always something special about home.