Interview - Jan Beckers from Douglas Laing

Next up in my series of interviews of people in the whisky industry is Jan Beckers (@whiskyjan) the Global Brand Ambassador for Douglas Laing and Co

Jan recently took time out of his seriously busy travelling schedule to chat to us about whisky.

Jan 1. How long have you been involved in the Whisky Industry?

It was a summer job as a guide at Glenfiddich distillery in 1998 and I kept returning for a total of 6 summers.

Meanwhile I set up my own part-time Whisky tasting business in Belgium, hosting private tastings and giving different importers a hand on Whisky events in Belgium and The Netherlands. I joined Douglas Laing in 2008.

2. What’s your earliest Whisky Memory?

As a kid my mom would ask me to make “cocktail sauce” (Thousand Island dressing it’s called in the UK I guess) and that would need a splash of Whisky. Doing this with my grandfather’s gallon bottle of Old Smuggler, there was the odd splash that would land on my fingers.

As a proper dram, it was when my brother was doing his military service in Germany and we were staying at the officer’s club. The most expensive whisky on the bar was Chivas Royal Salute (this is pre-Single Malt times) and it was a good introduction to Whisky.

3. What’s your proudest moment in your career within the Whisky Industry thus far?

I have several proud moments. First was the first bottling of a cask with my initial next to the tasting notes. A Laphroaig 16yo. Another proud moment was being voted Whisky Ambassador of the year in 2011 in Ghent. But the proudest moment was being included as a Keeper of the Quaich.

4. What was the last dram you had?

I just had a sample of New Make Spirit of one of the newer distilleries in Scotland. Last Whisky was a dram of 40yo Bunnahabhain from our XOP range as part of some filming in the office. ;-)

5. What other whiskies and/or distilleries inspire you and why?

I like the excitement of all these new distilleries around the world. Although big and established companies, often need to have to do a better job to attract their audience

Gregor Hannah
Jan with Neil (@neilmackinnon1), Myself and Barry (@thewhiskyphiles)

6. What is your dram of choice?

Depends on the moment. I would describe myself as Bourbon cask matured Speyside man.

7. The whisky industry seems very strong at the moment, where do you see it going over the next few years?

You hear different stories from different sources. Some expect another Pattison situation while at the same time demand seems to be growing in new markets around the world.

8. Where would you like to be in 5 years time?

Somewhere around the world presenting some fine drams in front of an audience of newbie Whisky drinkers.

9. What is the strangest whisky superstition you’ve came across?

People that say they only drink Malt Whisky… keep an open mind and try anything that’s offered to you.

Strangest story is the guy filling casks and while no one was watching, putting the nozzle in his wellies. Mmmh… rubber matured with a hint of damp socks anyone?

10. What dram would you absolutely not be able to live without?

I need my odd sip of old Single Grain once in a while.

Many thanks again to Jan for taking the time to answer these questions and I hope you enjoyed viewing them, more in this series in the future and I'm sure we're all looking forward to catching up with Jan at a whisky event in the near future.


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