The Glenmorangie Company

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http://www.theglenmorangiecompany.com

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Distiller finds the right blend

A warm earthiness runs from the Tarlogie spring, through the whisky of Glenmorangie and into the blood of the “16 men of Tain” — the team who run the company's oldest distillery.
The spring, which according to legend never freezes, has been used to make amber whisky at the Ross-shire distillery since 1843. Now it is one of three sources of water for Glenmorangie's three single malts.

The staff of Glenmorangie has grown twentyfold over the years, but the brotherhood of “the 16” remains and their skills, expertise and infinite patience have become a symbol known to millions of lovers of malt whisky all over the world.

Jimmy Mackay, who works in the mash house where fermentation begins, is modest when visitors question him about his job. “People from all over the world ask me how it feels to be one of the 16 — I just feel lucky to work here,” he says.

The 38-year-old has just seen the results of his first week's work from 1994. Although it takes only three days to make whisky, the precious liquid is stored for at least a decade while it matures.

In January, Mackay celebrated a decade of work with a few drams of his own making and 1,000 points to spend in the company's Heroes rewards catalogue — he chose a fishing rod and reel.

The spirit of brotherhood at Glenmorangie extends beyond the 16; all staff share a great pride in the firm and its products — and because many are related to each other there is a strong family feeling.

In our survey, about four out of five employees say they have confidence in their team's abilities, that they are fun to work with and that they laugh a lot together. This bonhomie does not depend on the 12 bottles of malt given to each employee every year.

Jobs can be hard to find in the far-flung communities where Glenmorangie has distilleries: Tain, Elgin and the Isle of Islay. While many employees stay for life, others have retrained from different trades.

When the firm decided to expand a tasting room into a large visitor centre, the 16 men of Tain were keen to volunteer. Brian Gilmour, who is 40 and a trained bricklayer, joined Glenmorangie five years ago and works in the filling store, topping up 150 casks of whisky a day. “We helped to build the centre four years back,” he says. “It is good to keep up your skills. It is also good to see people in there and to know that my building will last for many years.”

The shop is staffed by the seven “girls of Tain”, headed by Annette MacKenzie. English newcomers, such as Sandra Grant, have been astonished at their friendliness, while old hands find it hard to leave — 67-year-old Catherine Thomson retired on a Friday and was back leading tours on Monday. Her son Stuart runs Ardbeg distillery, which was bought by Glenmorangie in 1997.

The manager of the Glenmorangie distillery and visitor centre is Graham Eunson, who is happy for workers to alter their shift patterns or to opt for an increase in base salary in lieu of performance bonuses.

His distillery produces 4m litres of pure alcohol a year (about 12m bottles) and the popularity of single malts has given Glenmorangie a global turnover of £64.5m. Most staff — 84% — feel they contribute to this success, the top relative score.

Members of the Macdonald family — part of the founding alliance of Alexander Muir and Roderick Macdonald in 1893 — are still involved in the company, and people work hard to spread the family feeling, from the bottling plant in Broxburn to Glenmorangie House, the five-star hotel in Cadboll.

Set close to the sea and complete with the ruins of a castle, the latter was originally used for corporate entertaining but now welcomes hundreds of guests each year. The singer Sting stayed there with his family when he visited Scotland to attend Madonna's wedding.

David Graham, the chef responsible for Glenmorangie House's trademark whisky jelly, says: “There is a feeling of teamwork. My front-of-house manager will stay from 6am to late at night if we have a whisky-tasting weekend. I may work hard but there is never any problem getting time off, and that's rare for a salaried chef.”

Running the hotel may be hard work, but staff have the reward of being able to look out of the window at a glen of tranquillity — which is what Glenmorangie means in Gaelic. The only trouble comes when people mispronounce its name: like the whisky, it is warm and “orange”.

Featured Workplace Factors

My Company

91% of staff agreed

I feel proud to work for this organisation

The Glenmorangie Company off assistance to quit smoking which is provided with support through occupational health. There is a Healthy eating programme provided in the staff canteen. Losing weight is supported through occupational health. There is support for managing stress through self help and counselling available through the private medical help line. Support can also be prrovided by occupational health.

Giving Something Back

88% of staff agreed

My organisation encourages charitable activities

The Glenmorangie Heroes recognition programme allows for peer recognition where colleagues can recommend another employee for an award if they have supported them in some way or delivered for the business and/or customers. Employees receiving an award will be recognised in the Company newsletter and in their quarterly presentation to all employees.

My Team

76% of staff agreed

My team is fun to work with

Annually the Glenmorangie Company holds a Company dinner dance. This dance is open to all employes and their partners and is fully funded by the Company. It is a way for the Company to say thank you to all employees and the people who support them. It is also an oportunity to get everyone from the Company together as they bring all employees to a central location. Employees who travel from outlying sites will have transport and accomodation paid for.

Quick Facts

Organisation established in
Total number of employees
Number of UK locations
Employee average age
Male : Female employee ratio
Employees earning £35k+
Employee turnover (voluntary)

Benefits

Long Service

Companies where at least 40% of the staff have worked there for more than five years.

Pensions

Companies offering a final salary scheme to all employees, or one in which the employer's contribution is at least 5%.

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