“If you like whisky, travelling, meeting people, talking to people, then you should get involved in the whisky world.” – Lucie Stroesser
Lucie Stroesser is a sales manager for the Isle of Arran Distillers Ltd.
Originally from France, she fell in love with both whisky and Scottish heritage and landed herself the role at the single malt whisky distillers.
In this Whisky Women interview, she talks about her two years in the industry, what inspires her about being involved in the whisky industry, and which three whiskies she’d want to have with her if she were snowed in somewhere!
How did you first get into the world of whisky?
Being at the right place at the right moment!
To be completely honest with you, I had never thought I would one day do what I do now for a living. A long story short, I was having dinner at a friend’s house and someone mentioned a position available with Isle of Arran Distillers so I jumped at the opportunity. I don’t have the typical background (I have a degree in tourism and leisure management), but speaking three languages and being passionate about Scotland and its heritage definitely helped me to get the job.
What whisky was one you first fell in love with?
The first Arran I tried when I joined the company was the Arran 14 Year Old and I immediately loved it. It is still one of my favourite whiskies. Fruity and sweet with the right amount of spices to give it a nice kick, this is the perfect every-day dram…not that I drink whisky every day!
What do you enjoy most about your current role?
The balance between being at the office and travelling – you never get bored, each week is unique! I really enjoy meeting people around the world, whether it is whisky aficionados or colleagues from the industry. It is still a relatively small industry and everybody knows each other. I really have met a lot of great people within the last two years.
I look after extremely different markets from the European ones to Asian markets and ‘Oceania’ as well. It is extremely interesting and challenging to learn how to deal with the different cultures and the different ways of doing business or holding masterclasses. Each market is unique.
As a sales manager, what is your viewpoint on the growing demand for whiskies globally – do you see this as a positive generally, or do you think there could be supply issues in future?
I think it is very positive. The most obvious reason is it means that we will be in business for quite some time! But, as well, it shows that more and more people nowadays prefer to drink less but to drink better. It is very encouraging to see that people really get passionate about what they drink and are demanding for quality products.
Supply may be an issue in the future but at the same time, more and more new distilleries are being built. There will probably be a shortage of old stock at some point, but if people want single malt Scotch whisky, single malt Scotch whisky they will have!
What is the thing you are most proud of in your career?
That’s a difficult question! But, probably my first masterclass ever: I was terrified, but it went actually very well and I was really proud of myself afterwards!
Do you think more women could or should be involved in the whisky world?
To be honest I think there are already quite a good number of women involved in the whisky world. For instance, I just came back from Whisky Live Belgium, and half of the brand ambassadors of the brands distributed by my importers were women. And at Arran’s head office, there are more women than men!
Why would you recommend someone get involved in the whisky world?
If you like whisky, travelling, meeting people, talking to people, then you should get involved in the whisky world. It has its ups and downs like every job, but overall it is a great industry to work for.
How has the industry changed since you’ve been involved?
Well, I am pretty new to the whisky industry so it hasn’t changed that much for me in two years. But I believe that you did not have that many young people or women into whisky 10 years ago. Everytime I host a tasting or go to a whisky show, I am really impressed by the number of young men and women being really into single malt whisky.
Imagine you’re snowed in at a cabin somewhere: what three whiskies would you want to have with you?
Arran 14 of course, probably a Glendronach, and the Taketsuru 21 year-old.
What is one of your favourite memories involving whisky drinking?
That’s not an easy question either – I have so many memories already! Maybe simply being back home in France and enjoying a dram or two with my family at Christmas.