Tips for Distillery Managers
Distillery managers have a tough job. On the one hand, they’re working at a company that has to make a profit, just like any other cubicle farm in the big city. On the other, making spirits is more than a job. It’s a calling steeped in tradition. There is an inherent level of passion found in people working at all levels of a distillery that doesn’t exist in companies that make gaskets or slip covers.
Here is some of what the good distillery managers do to keep the ship sailing.
Hire the Right People
The first part is common sense. You got to hire people who are good at their job, and you as the manager have to be able to trust them. But there is one component that is often overlooked. You need to make sure that the people you hire also believe you. There will be the time when you ask workers to do things they may not agree with, or you have to get them to go along with an unpopular change. Employees who trust management will make navigating these impending storms a hell of a lot easier.
There will never be enough time in the day to do everything that you need to do, so the only option left is to do what you can. Developing good time management skills will allow you to get the most out of your day. It also cuts down on the general stress level.
Take Advantage of New Technology
In an industry that still uses the same techniques and practices people used a couple of hundred years ago, it’s easy to fall into the trap of ignoring anything new and shiny – especially if it beeps at you. Ignore tech at your peril. Social media and the internet have created new sales and marketing channels that were undreamt of just a few years ago. Other innovations like distillery specific accounting software can make operations ten times more efficient than keeping track of everything by the whiteboard and long sheets.
Get in Mix
Do a little bit of all the work in the distillery, if you can. At least see and do enough to understand each and every job fully. Just remember the old rule about too many cooks in the kitchen. Some jobs require a level of expertise only the people doing them have. Not only will it give you a good sense of what goes into making the distillery work, but it will also show everyone you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty.
Lead by Example
How you act and work as the manager is going to be how the people under you will perform and work. You set the tone. So, if the workers are giving everyone grief and things aren’t running like a well-oiled machine, look in the mirror before implementing any “solutions.”
A shared passion helps things run smoothly, but can also cause a lot of friction. When people disagree on something that they care deeply about, it can cause some major conflicts. This is what distillery managers call just another day at the office. Outside of the usual bumps, it’s either smooth sailing or a total ---- storm. The manager is the captain of the boat, and the decisions they make will decide whether or not the distillery sinks.