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Women enjoy forging iconic brands at Diageo

Women enjoy forging iconic brands at Diageo

 September 20, 2018

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Diageo Australia proudly celebrated the 130th birthday of their iconic Bundaberg Rum brand. Opened in 1888, the Bundberg Rum distillery in Queensland, Australia was founded when seven Bundaberg locals decided to take the by-product from the local sugar industry and open up a rum distillery. Multiple fires and floods forced the Distillery to close and rebuild, but it always came back stronger. Talented women at Diageo have helped to preserve the tradition of rum making at the distillery for a hundred years.

The start of the journey

Diageo's Sarah Watson grew up in Stirling, a city in central Scotland, where she would take walks with her family and was fascinated by the big black buildings she saw while out walking. This was perhaps her very first encounter with the drinks industry as one of the buildings she saw housed one of the most famed Scotch companies in the world, Johnnie Walker. 

The way to Bundaberg

Many years later after her studies in Edinburgh Napier University and receiving a BSc Hons degree in Science with a focus on Toxicology, Sarah decided to travel to Australia and enjoy the fine weather of its east coast. Sarah thrived on the culture, its people and the Australian way of life and soon enrolled herself in a Master of Science degree at the University of Sydney. Sarah eventually settled in Bundaberg in Queensland and took a job as a Laboratory Manager for a local soil and plant testing company.

Discovering her real passion at Diageo

Sarah's knowledge of analysis soon led her to a further different role working as an Instrument Chemist for the Quality Assurance Team at Australia’s favourite rum producer, Bundaberg Rum. With the talent to design and manage the complex blending process of the local rum, Sarah later moved into the role of Liquid Scientist and now works as the Liquid and Innovation Lead at Bundaberg Rum where she is responsible for the management of liquid development, maturation, blending, and bulk dispatch at the distillery. 

Sarah enjoys seeing production of premium rums and has supported numerous successful innovations including the Master Distillers Small Batch Rum - which was voted World’s Best Gold Rum at the 2016 World Rum Awards; the Master Distillers Small Batch Vintage Barrel which was matured in 100-year-old port barrels; and the Master Distillers Blenders Edition 2015 which was crowned the World’s Best Rum at the 2016 World Rum Awards.

Sarah enjoys working at Diageo

"The best thing about working for Bundaberg Rum is the people! Bundaberg is a close community and it’s great to be able to work at such a special place with your family and friends. I plan to continue to develop our premium offering, while making sure we maintain the core Bundaberg Rum flavours that have made it Australia’s favourite rum," comments Sarah.

Diageo's Kylie McPherson moved from legal sector to the drinks industry 

A further woman at Diageo, Kylie, joined the company as Regional Legal Counsel with more than 20 years’ experience as a legal practitioner. Kylie was promoted to Legal and Corporate Relations Director for Diageo’s Australian and New Zealand operations where she oversees Diageo Australia’s legal affairs, stakeholder engagement and government relations, regulatory issues and corporate relations.

Kylie is co-chair of the Bundaberg Distilling Company and sits on the Diageo Australia Executive Team. She oversees the distillery’s innovation and business strategy, its operations and its award-winning Visitor Experience, and represents the company on the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia.       

No doubt, a key career highlight for Kylie was when His Royal Highness Prince Charles returned to the Bundaberg Rum distillery after his first visit in 1994, hosted by Kylie and the Distillery’s Visitor Experience Operations Manager Duncan Littler for a private tour and Blend Your Own Rum experience. Prince Charles gave a speech to the crowd on the grounds of the distillery saying: “I'm thrilled that this Distillery's proving to be the one that produces some of the most famous and special of all rums around the world."

Join talented women like Sarah and Kylie at Diageo

Women flourish at Diageo with the vast amount of exciting career opportunities on offer.

Research Diageo's job vacancies and enjoy an exciting career.

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