Name: Charlie Echlin
Job title: Head of whisky sales
Company: The Oxford Artisan Distillery
What was your first job? Pulling pints in Camden boozer The Sir Richard Steele on Haverstock Hill. Much like the area, the punters were a mixed bag and I had to learn to be sharp-witted pretty quick. I learnt a fair bit about the drinks industry – formative years, one might say!
What’s been your worst job interview? Once I was asked to present for a job selling to bars. I thought a PowerPoint presentation would be a bit dull, so I didn’t prepare one. I had prepared to talk to them and had props, but I looked woefully under-prepared and it was just crazy embarrassing… needless to say, I didn’t get the job.
What was the first music single you bought? I think I managed to bypass the parental advisory sticker as a lad and get something by Tupac Shakur.
How do you describe your job to your friends? I talk about whisky every day. I also get to attend cool events, travel the world and learn more about world whisky, English whisky, rye whisky, eco whisky and other great spirits, all in the name of work.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? Definitely meeting people. Whisky attracts folks from all generations, backgrounds and walks of life. I get to travel all around the UK and further simply because of the water of life. Working for an English farm-distillery also brings a lot of intrigue and it’s great fun to talk to folks about the blossoming world whisky movement, and also about some of the traditional, and brilliant, distilleries they love.
What is the least rewarding part? The occasional hangover. I have once or twice overdone it in the name of work and this is probably the least rewarding part. The most rookie error (and I have been guilty of it) is drinking too much the day before a whisky event – singing the praises even of good whisky is difficult when you’re not feeling 100%.
What is your motto in life? Being kind and generous to other people is free.
If you were allowed one dream perk, what would it be? Probably unlimited meal allowance – including drinks! I might add in really good restaurants. I love food.
Do you have any phobias? Terrified of heights (never climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa again!).
If you could change one thing in grocery, what would it be? When companies or individuals seem to be unaware of the great invention that is the internet. This can take many forms – sometimes I feel so sarcastic when someone asks a question and the best answer, genuinely, is ‘let’s Google it’. This also happens with supply and moving goods throughout the industry – we have great technology and it’s getting better and better, let’s use it!
What luxury would you have on a desert island? A Labrador.
What animal most reflects your personality? A monkey.
What’s your favourite film and why? The Blues Brothers because of the music, and it’s hilarious. If you haven’t watched it you are most definitely missing out. Stream it now.
What was the most embarrassing moment in your life? Walking into a lamppost during a snowball fight was quite traumatising as a teenager.
Which celebrity would you most like to work with and why? Larry David as it would be funny and human, yet focused.
What would your death row meal be? Probably bangers and mash – but it has to be good!