Interviewing John Quinn from Tullamore D.E.W.

Tullamore D.E.W. is a legendary triple distilled, triple blend Irish whiskey which is available in South Africa.

Tullamore D.E.W. was born in the heart of Ireland in 1992, it’s a whiskey blended from all three types of Irish whiskeys and is triple distilled. This unique approach has brought generations of families closer to the true spirit of Tullamore.

With the Whisky Live Festival to be hosted in Sandton from the 8th – 10th of November, the brand ambassador of Tullamore D.E.W., John Quinn, will be visiting South Africa to educate us about their unique style of whiskey.

We were able to chat with him talking about his role as a brand ambassador, the meaning of life and his love for whiskey.

Tell us more about you – what did you do before representing Tullamore D.E.W?

A: Actually this was my first job – I joined the Irish Distillers Group in 1974 where I had many roles including Production, Sales, Marketing and International business development for all the Irish whiskeys of that time, Tullamore D.E.W., Powers, Jameson, Bushmills Paddy etc.

What’s it like being a global brand ambassador for a whiskey brand?

A: It’s a great job (don’t tell my boss) and I really enjoy it. Of course there’s the downside – a lot of travel. But that’s also the upside. The travelling through airports is a bit of a pain but once you get to your destination you get to meet great people, to learn about cultures and countries and of course you get to taste some great drinks – what could be better !

What’s the biggest challenge as a brand ambassador?

A: I suppose the biggest challenge is keeping your admin up to date. Most people go to work between 8am and 6pm and admin such as reports, expenses, chasing up emails etc will all happen during that time. When I’m travelling that time is usually taken up in airport lines, on planes and in taxis. Then I have to go to whatever gig I’m involved. Last night I got back to my room at midnight (not such a late one really) but there’s no time for admin catch-up as I’m on a train to another city this morning.

What’s the most important message you try to bring across at whiskey tastings?

A: That to know how whiskey is made and what makes one different from another makes the drinking occasion all the more enjoyable. People who love whiskey will also love the knowledge. I need to be careful not to take the knowledge too far but it needs to go far enough so that people come away from my sessions thinking “wow I learned a lot there”

What do you tell people that try whiskey for the first time?

A: I tell them not to expect to love it first time but certainly to watch out for flavours they didn’t expect to find. After a while, they will start to look for these flavours and they’ll then begin to understand why they are beginning to like it – but importantly they will respect it also.

How do you see South Africa’s market develop in the next 3 – 5 years?

A: I see the level of sophistication in the SA consumer growing every year. Their level of knowledge is way ahead of where they were 10 years ago and they ask really informed questions at my sessions. Of course there are still many people out there who have yet to discover whiskey and especially Irish whiskey so the potential to double the business in 5 years is definitely there.

What sets Tullamore D.E.W. apart from other brands in the SA market?

A: I always tell people it’s a triple distilled. Triple cask matured and then a triple blend fo grain, malt and pot still whiskeys – that makes it unique, not just in Irish whiskey but in the world of whiskey. No other whiskey in the world is made like that.

How long are you staying in South Africa?

A: Just about a week. I wish it could be longer but I have a few other destinations to cover before the end of the year.

Written by Marvin Leugering

Founder of FoodBlogSA Media. B.Bus.Sc. - Marketing; M.Bus.Sc- Tourism. A career in destination marketing was calling but then my passion for food took over. Welcome to our restaurant marketing platform.

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