This week we sat down with our distillery team to discuss their experiences working for Teeling Whiskey and to get an insight into their distilling backgrounds and where their passion for Irish whiskey stems from. We spoke with Alex Chasko, the Master Distiller, who joined Teeling in 2012; Pauric Ennis, Teeling’s Process and Quality Manager, who joined the team in 2014; and Peter Warren, who has been working in the Teeling Distillery since 2015.
What is your distilling/drinks industry background?
Alex Chasko, Teeling Master Distiller
Prior to Teeling I worked at the Cooley distillery and I also have a MSc in Brewing and Distilling.
Pauric Ennis, Teeling Distillery Process and Quality Manager
I started out as a trainee distiller, assisting the chief technical officer in the design/build/commissioning and running of the Teeling Distillery. I then moved into a quality focused role helping to introduce and maintain quality standards in the distillery. Most recently I took up the role of Process and Quality Manager. Whilst studying for my BSc Chemistry UCD I also achieved a Diploma in Distilling from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.
Peter Warren, Teeling Distillery Operative
I had been brewing beer and wine at home for a few years and developed a real interest in brewing and distilling. I have since completed a number of courses on brewing, as well as broadening my interest and knowledge of whiskey and distillation.
Alex, you’ve been a key member of this company from the beginning, when did you develop a passion for distilling and whiskey?
When I was a chemistry student at the University of Oregon I started to do some home brewing and eventually built my own still. I think it was the excitement of discovery and trying to understand new things that sparked my passion in brewing and distilling.
Peter, starting in Teeling as a tour guide, where did your passion for distilling come from?
I always had a keen interest in whiskey and distillation. When I began working as a tour guide and in the Bang Bang Bar, educating visitors on distillation and the history of Teeling Whiskey and Irish whiskey in general, I realised that this is what I wanted to do.
Pauric, what attracted you to working for Teeling?
When I realised what the ethos of the Teeling Whiskey Company was about I was immediately attracted to them as an employer as they were emerging as a new whiskey distiller who were bringing many new innovations into the Irish whiskey category. The opportunity to join a new company that was building the first distillery in Dublin for many years and to be there from the start was a very exciting prospect.
What are your favourite parts of the job?
I enjoy the process of making a great whiskey, and to get the opportunity to develop new products that we then get to provide to enthusiasts is wonderful. I like that there are several parts to my job. There is the “what if” questions and there is the development and education aspect, which hopefully results in the products exceeding people’s expectations of what Irish whiskey is possible of being.
There is never a dull moment! Although the process is quite automated and consistent there is still room for issues and tackling these issues as they arise help to keep the job highly interesting on a daily basis.
I really enjoy the hands on nature of the production process. Similar to brewing, I like the beginning of the process when our liquid starts becoming alcohol, the yeast pitching, and the end of the process seeing a successful batch leave the distillery as a spirits transfer.
Do you guys have a most memorable experience working at Teeling?
That is hard to say. We started out with a very small team and we have developed into a successful company. There have been so many people and places along the way that it is hard to say what is the most memorable.
Over the past 4 years there have been many memorable experiences, but probably the commissioning of the distillery in early 2015 was the stand out experience – so far.
I’ll never forget the week we had to take apart our beloved wash still, the tense moments of dismantling the neck, replacing the delicate pipes and reassembling the whole thing ready for many more years of distillation.
The Teeling Distillery are currently hiring a Trainee Distiller! If you want to find out more about the role and how to apply, click here.
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