|By Whisky Live Staff||01-11-2017|
We had a chat with David Roussier, CEO of Armorik Distillery to find more about his journey in the whisky industry.
Q: Tell us how you got involved with Armorik.
A: When I joined the Distillery 8 years ago, it was run by my father-in-law at the time and I took over from him. I have to admit I didn’t know a lot about whisky. I have a business background, specialising in finance! But I did know that I wanted to be involved in a small business with a lot of genuine, human interaction so when the opportunity came up, I jumped at it. Whisky is a great product and although I had no knowledge of it when I started (I didn’t even drink it myself) I found it easy to get passionate about it. It’s one of those products that it’s really easy to get to know and love. Also, my grandfather was a wine maker in the Loire Valley so I think somehow a passion for alcohol runs in my DNA.
Q: What do you do at the Distillery?
A: I do pretty much everything which is the great thing about a small distillery like Armorik. I am the CEO so I deal a lot with the communications side. I also oversee production although we have a master blender who we’ve been working with for 3 years so he is in charge of the day-to-day production. Also, all the sales people report into me.
Q: Why the interest in South Africa?
A: It happened by chance, actually. Last year at Whisky Live in Paris, I met Harry Tayler and Andrew Thompson of Wolfburn Distillery. We spent a few hours talking about whisky making and at some point he asked if I was exporting to South Africa. I said I wasn’t but that I’d be very interested in an opportunity to do so as South Africa is a really big market for whisky. Harry introduced me to Michael Miles of Dragon Brands and we started liaising over email the next day.
Q: How big is your business and where else do you export?
A: We produce 150 000 litres of pure alcohol annually and at this stage we sell roughly 25 000 cases per year. Our biggest market is still France but exports now make up 20% of our business! Seven years ago we didn’t export at all and were limited to France with a large focus in western France in Brittany where the distillery is situated. Germany is our biggest export market while we also sell a lot in the USA, Russia and Australia. Australia had a great year last year and Russia is really doing well this year for us.
Q: Tell us about what we can expect from Armorik?
A: Our goal is to make a really easy-drinking, palatable whisky. Armorik is fruity and rich – we work a lot on that. We used to work with well-known whisky expert, Jim Swan, for many years – since 2010 in fact – to make sure that our whisky is the best we can possibly produce. It’s a little bit like a Speyside but of course, it’s made in Brittany, so it has a different character.
Follow David Roussier @ArmorikWhisky on Twitter and on Facebook and feel free to ask him what’s in store at Whisky & Spirits Live…