It’s not a common journey to go from bartender to distiller, but it’s one that Perth-boy James Di Guilio has successfully managed, even though he was studying motorsports when it started.

James is a distiller with The Dublin Liberties Distillery, and is working on the Dubliner Whiskey and its Honeycomb Liqueur, and while there are other exciting projects looming, and in barrel, as he told Bars and Clubs, he’s living his dream right now.

“I started bartending while I was at uni. I studied motorsports, when I was at uni. Something totally different to what I’m doing now. But I fell in love with the bars. I fell in love with bartending and then that scene. I worked in the industry for almost 10 years in the bar scene and then  moved over here, and was in a bar for two years, and then had the opportunity to get into the DLD, thanks to the Master Distiller at the time, Darrell, and John Parker who’s the distillery manager.

“I completed my distilling course through the Institute for Brewing and Distilling. It’s an online course, recognised worldwide and I completed the course and now here, which is really good. It’s good for me to make a step from bartending to distilling because I was told it would never happened.”

And while it it’s not a common step James said it was something he always wanted to do.

“I had an interest in spirits while I was in the bar, my old man used to make wine and that got me interested in alcohol and really prompted the move over here.”

James started working at DLD in February last year, and is now part of a team of six working 24-hour a day, six days a week distilling spirits, and it’s the hands-on distillation side of things that James says he enjoys most about his job.

“We get to do everything from the start to, well not so much finish but once we see a tanker of new-make spirit gone that’s pretty much our job done. The rest is up to the next three years. So, I’m enjoying the side of producing new-make and seeing it going from pretty much from grain, to beer, to a distillate, which is quite nice. We triple distill and solely produce single malt at the distillery here.”

For more from James on how the honeycomb liqueur is great in cocktails and why Irish whiskey is growing in popularity, head to Bars and Clubs.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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