As the Head of Cask Supply in the Scotch Whisky industry you are responsible for leading the sourcing, management, and quality control of casks used in the maturation of Scotch whisky. This is a senior management position that requires extensive knowledge and experience in the whisky industry, particularly in cask selection and the management of cask tracking systems and underlying data integrity. The role often requires regular travel to Spain and other locations.
Main duties and responsibilities
As Head of Cask Management, you will be responsible for driving initiatives that ensure successful management of casks throughout the cask supply chain. You will oversee the cask supply reporting and systems development and will lead coordination of stock balances between Scotland and Spain,
- Developing and executing strategies for cask management that support the broader business goals of the distillery or company. Preparing the annual cask management plan, aligned to business requirements.
- Overall responsibility for cask sourcing, management, and innovation, which includes regular regauging of all casks on a regular basis, ensuring information is relayed and updated to stakeholders, and reporting to and liaising with HMRC as required.
- Overall responsibility for the management of casks throughout their life cycle, from the selection and preparation of new casks to the maintenance and repair of existing casks. Ensuring that casks are properly seasoned, filled, and stored to produce the desired flavour profiles.
- Overall responsibility for the transportation and supply of casks. Liaising with cooperages and other suppliers to ensure a consistent supply of casks. Proactively looking for ways to improve the cask management/transportation process. Ensuring that the wider flow of casks from first fill, decant and refill is understood and communicated across relevant stakeholders.
- Developing and implementing quality control processes, conducting regular sensory evaluations of casks, and working closely with distilleries to ensure that casks are delivering the desired flavours.
- Overall management and development of the cask tracking system and underlying data integrity and KPIs. Overseeing cask tracking reporting and ensuring data accurately reflects physical stocks held. Managing the supply of casks within agreed budgets.
- Leading a team of cask experts, including coopers and warehouse staff. Responsible for setting goals, providing direction, and ensuring that the team has the resources and support needed to succeed.
- Ensuring all activities are carried out following safe working practices and quality procedures are strictly followed to ensure compliance with HMRC, environmental legislation, ISO 9001, OHSAS 18001 & ISO14001 requirements to produce safe products.
Skills and experience
The Head of Cask Supply is a senior leadership position that requires a combination of technical expertise, management skills, and industry experience. To succeed in the role you must have strong planning and organisational skills, excellent problem-solving skills and good communication skills.
Additionally you will need:
- Extensive experience in the Scotch whisky industry, with a deep understanding of a deep understanding of the science and art of cask selection and management, including the impact of different types of wood, seasoning, toasting, and charring on the final flavour profile of Scotch whisky. Including the technical aspects of cask preparation, filling, and storage.
- Strong leadership skills and experience leading and developing a team. Ability to set goals, provide direction, and motivate the team to achieve excellence.
- Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written, with the ability to build strong relationships with suppliers, internal stakeholders, and industry experts.
- Strong analytical skills, with a track record of using data to drive decision-making. Ability to analyse sensory data and other metrics to evaluate the quality and performance of casks.
- An innovative mindset with a track record of developing and implementing new processes and techniques to improve cask management and the ability to monitor and assess industry trends and new opportunities for innovation.
As Head of Cask Supply you will need to be a strategic thinker with a passion for excellence in cask selection and management. You will need to balance technical expertise with leadership and management skills to drive success.
- A minimum of 10 years of experience in the Scotch whisky industry, with at least 5 years of experience in cask selection and management. With a deep understanding of the industry, including the key players, market trends, and regulatory environment.
- A bachelor's degree in a related field such as brewing, distilling, or chemical engineering.
- Prior experience managing a team of cask experts.
- Professional certifications, such as a Diploma in Distilling or Certified Cooper, are highly desirable.