Success Stories

Robert Kingsland Makes His Mark on Shetland Distillery Company

A ScotGrad placement has helped Shetland Distillery Company to promote its tour experience.

Published: 07/11/2017

With a busy summer ahead, the Shetland Distillery Company recruited a graduate through ScotGrad in May to take a lead on promoting its visitor experience and tourism appeal.

The distillery, which produces small batch gins, offers tours for visitors to the island and has big plans to install a whisky distillery to create Shetland’s first Single Malt by 2021.


Debbie Strang from Shetland Distillery and graduate Robert Kingsland hold Shetland Distillery Company gin bottles


Commenting on previous success using ScotGrad, Debbie Strang, Director of the Shetland Distillery Company, said: “Our first experience with ScotGrad worked really well so it made sense to work with a graduate again, helping us develop our tourism offering while giving them a real hands-on opportunity with a small but growing business.

“We were looking for someone who could review the current marketing and promotion with a fresh pair of eyes to help us to develop our strategy and we felt that a graduate would possess the right skills and energy to help us grow this side of the business.”

25-year-old graduate Robert Kingsland heard about the placement through the ScotGrad website after he completed his BSc in Sport and Recreation Management at the University of Edinburgh.

Discussing Robert’s contribution, Debbie said: “Being a recent graduate, Robert brought a greater understanding of using social media in the most effective way, allowing us to spread the message of our distillery tours as a tourist destination. His skill set complemented and added to the existing skills within the business, allowing us to capitalise on one of the distillery’s greatest assets.

“Robert showed interest and enthusiasm in being involved in a small but growing business and got to grips with our company at all levels. We always look for team players with a sense of humor and an adventurous spirit which are necessary in the drinks industry.”

Robert explained: “I was really looking forward to starting my placement with The Shetland Distillery Company, putting to use the skills I acquired during my degree. I’ve learned so much already and gained vital hands-on experience including the opportunity to deliver a summer calendar of events and tours at the distillery, including hosting the ‘Saxa Vord Food and Drink Fayre’ the most northerly food and drink festival in the UK bringing together local producers.

“Not only did the events generate income, they increased brand and product awareness amongst tourists and locals and it was so rewarding to be part of this. I have transitioned from barely a gin drinker to someone with a knowledge on the history, production methods, distribution networks, legal framework, marketing strategies and sales techniques of gin.

“My ScotGrad placement has given me experience in working in a fast-paced growing business across multiple operations which can be applied to many jobs and it has given me a real taste for working in the spirits industry.”

Debbie would highly recommend ScotGrad to other businesses. She said: “Choosing the right candidate is vital, but if you do that, you will have an able self-starter who often has up to date skills and knowledge to move the business forward at a much greater pace.”

ScotGrad placements are advertised throughout the year. For more information about how graduates have supported business growth across Scotland take a look at our employer case studies. Never miss an update by registering with us.