Meet Pamela Ferguson from Beam Suntory Laphroaig Distillery

Meet Pamela Ferguson from Beam Suntory Laphroaig Distillery

 April 18, 2023

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Meet Beam Suntory Assistant Distillery Manager Pamela Ferguson, who works in Laphroaig in Islay, Scotland. Islay is the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland.

Significant career success sees Pamela work as only the second woman in Laphroaig Distillery's management team in 50 years. 

Interestingly, King Charles, while in his position as Prince of Wales, granted Laphroaig its Royal Warrant for the first time in 1994. And, reportedly, the Royal referred to the distillery's whisky as being the finest in the world.

Innovative changes create output 

“Every time I step into the Laphroaig warehouses, breathe in the smell of maturing whisky, and look around at the casks, I feel myself come alive. There’s something magical about the idea that I get the opportunity to see what the casks laid down decades ago have become because of the contributions of those before me," shares Pamela. 
"Most people may not know that a woman named Bessie Williamson inherited the Laphroaig distillery in the ‘50s after the owner passed. She started as a shorthand typist but proved herself to be so much more. She wanted the best for the distillery and made a lot of innovative changes to improve output, such as installing the larger Spirit Still No.1. Since Bessie retired in 1972, there wasn’t another woman in the management team for another 50 years – until me."

Becoming part of history 

There are moments when Pamela feels like she needs to pinch herself as "being a part of history in this way was not something I ever expected," she says.

"When I first started this position in November 2021, I had a female mentor from our Courvoisier team in France. She assured me it’s ok to not always have the answer! I recall a conversation she and I once had, where I looked at her and said, ‘I don’t think I can get to the stage you’re at in my career’ and she said, ‘well a year ago, I didn’t think I could either.’ She taught me to be kinder to myself and believe in my capabilities. It’s this level of support that I aim to give my team every day," reflects Pamela.
"Occasionally, Bessie Williamson's niece will visit the distillery - She came last year and gave me a lovely leather schoolbook of Bessie's as a 'rite of passage' of sorts following my appointment as the second ever female in the management team. This lovely piece of history now sits pride of place on the shelf above my desk as a reminder of the trailblazer that came before me and of everything I can become.”

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