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Meet the Maker: Matthew Paterson, Malt Man at The Balvenie

Meet the Maker: Matthew Paterson, Malt Man at The Balvenie

We recently visited The Balvenie Distillery to film some updated explainer videos for our Certificate in Scotch Whisky course with EWA Senior Whisky Lecturer, Vic Cameron.

Ambassador James Roberts was kind enough to guide us around the distillery (which is owned by William Grant & Sons) and introduced us to some of the characters behind the craft. Malt Man Matthew Paterson (pictured above with Vic Cameron) gave us an insight into his typical working day and the background which brought him to the role…

Meet the Maker: Matthew Paterson

How did you get into the role?

I’ve been with the company for 11 years now. My father was here for 47 as a distiller and he retired three years ago. So, it was through him that I got the job here. I started off as an all-around and then moved to the maltings about 8 years ago. 

What does a typical day in your job involve?

Usually, when we’re up and running at full scale, a lot of hard work and sweat! And, just care and attention to the job that you’re doing. You’re relying very much on the weather outside for temperature control, it’s old fashioned so we don’t have any set control of the weather.

How did you discover whisky?

Oh well, over the lips and past the gums! My father was always brought up with whisky at home and with my father working here, we always had whisky at home so it was always just very much a family tradition.

How important is the distillery to this area of Scotland?

The distillery is crucial to this part of the north east of Scotland. I mean every job, all your lorry hauliers, without the stills, you wouldn’t have half of the lorry work. Every aspect of the process requires roles, you’ve employees all around. But you’ve got Grants, Forsyths, coppersmiths, bottling. Without the stills, you wouldn’t have any of them. Distilleries are the major employers in the area, so it’s a huge thing. And if you lost the stills, there would be a knock-on effect throughout many industries in this part of the country.

What is your favourite part of the job?

The maltings is definitely the best part, and of course sampling in the evenings!

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