Name: Jayne Loughlin
Job title: Category development graduate
Company & location: Edrington-Beam Suntory UK, Glasgow
Education: University of Stirling, BA Hons in Retail Marketing
Why did you decide to go for a career in food & drink? When the opportunity to work in the drinks industry arose, I jumped at the chance! I wanted to be a part of an industry in which innovation and diversity was valued. The graduate scheme at Edrington-Beam Suntory UK offered me this as well as the opportunity to take on a role in which I could support the development of well-known brands and help lesser-known brands find their space in the market.
Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): I am responsible for the delivery of high-quality reporting, insights and analysis to all levels of the business, as well as to our key customers, on everything from the spirits category to competitors and consumer behaviour.
What does a typical day look like for you? No two days are ever the same which is definitely one of the most exciting parts of my job. My day-to-day responsibilities include delivering category updates, collating reports and providing insights into brand and competitor performance.
Over the past year, I have positioned myself as the ‘data intelligence champion’ working closely with our marketing and sales teams as well as external data agencies such as Nielsen, CGA and Dunnhumby to evaluate new product launches and brand campaigns. Earlier this year, I organised and presented at the business’ annual retail post-Christmas review, leading the analysis of the non-cream liqueur & speciality drinks category and proposing a set of recommendations to take into the year ahead. This was definitely the biggest responsibility I have had since starting the graduate scheme a year ago.
Tell us about how you went about applying for your job. I heard about the opportunity from a former colleague as well as from one of my classmates at university. After submitting my application, I was invited to interview. The first interview focused on my knowledge of fmcg and previous work experience while the second interview tested my ability to interpret and analyse data to identify trends and opportunities for growth. The second interview was definitely more challenging as I was given 30 minutes to review a report before presenting my findings back to the interviewer.
What’s the best part about working for a food/drinks company? The best part of my job is the sense of accomplishment. I am always so proud when I am out and about and see new products, campaigns or activations from Edrington-Beam Suntory UK as I know that somewhere along the line, I played a role in contributing to its success. What’s more, my cupboards are always stocked full of different spirits!
“Keep an eye out for any internships or graduate roles within the industry, they are a great place to start”
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? People tend to think we get paid to drink all the time. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of opportunities to sample new serves and cocktails as it is an important part of the job – my favourite tipple without a doubt being a Roku G&T – but what people forget is that we work hard and are always prepared to go above and beyond to help our brands succeed in the market.
What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? Keep an eye out for any internships or graduate roles within the industry, they are a great place to start. They provide you with the chance to try a variety of different roles and build on your experience. I started as an intern at another spirits company and believe this experience provided me with the necessary expertise to fulfil my role as a graduate at Edrington-Beam Suntory UK.
What’s your ultimate career dream? I’m not sure. My main goal at the moment is to learn as much as I can from the different teams and individuals I work with, as it is this experience that will dictate the next stage of my career. At the moment, I am interested in continuing to learn more about the off-trade as well as the on-trade as I would love to be more involved in helping bring our brands to life in pubs and bars across the country.