Dream of transitioning into a new role in a new place—but with the team you love? Now based in the United States, Emma Lamont, our Senior Brand Manager of Single Malts, did just that.
How did you find the Rémy Cointreau Group?
I started a career in marketing and kind of fell into the drinks industry—and absolutely loved it. I worked with my first company three years before I was recruited to work with The Botanist gin.
The Botanist had only just launched, so it was relatively unknown in the market back then. I knew Rémy Cointreau, but I didn’t know their portfolio that well. I met with the International Marketing Manager and Commercial Director, who showed me how they were doing things very differently from … really, the rest of the industry. It was a far more authentic and innovative approach to marketing, with the distillery and the people at the heart of everything. I was drawn in by this: It felt like a chance to be part of something bigger.
They were authentic?
Absolutely. Everyone in the spirits industry talks about their stories being “unique and authentic,” weaving in “terroir” and all the other buzzwords you’re supposed to use. But meeting the pioneers of the brands, and being part of their journey, you realize this is more than a job; it’s their lives. It was amazing for me to see the now Production Director, who started as a painter in the distillery, and the now Head Distiller, who joined Bruichladdich as a tour guide … You can literally go anywhere in this company, and that was hugely exciting.
I took the opportunity because it wasn’t just another marketing job in a big corporation. At that time, there were around 70 people employed at the distillery. Now there are approximately 90. And for us out in the field, you feel responsible to those at the distillery to make sure you do them proud!
How was your global role in Glasgow different than what you’re doing now in New York?
Working on the global marketing team, I spent a lot of time on the international brand strategy, including positioning, packaging, line extensions, pricing, activation programs and guidelines.
Now, I’m much closer to the local market, so it’s much more about applied practices, giving me greater insights into the US market: what works and what doesn’t. And equally as exciting, I have now moved over to work on our Single Malt brands, including Bruichladdich, as well as our American Single Malt, Westland.
Did you always want to go abroad?
Yes, but timing was right, too. Three years after joining The Botanist during its successful launch phase, I was ready for another challenge.
At the same time, I got married last year, and my husband and I talked about our next steps. So really, it was a combination of looking for my next move professionally, as well as our interest in discovering a new culture.
How was the transition?
It was surprisingly all quite straight-forward. Rémy Cointreau provided assistance with shipping our belongings from the UK, managed the daunting visa process and helped us find somewhere to live. They were brilliant, in terms of facilitating the move and making it as seamless as possible. From my time in global, I already knew some of the team here, so it was great to be able to reach out to them to ask some of the more unofficial questions!
Did you find grand differences between the US and Scotland?
To be honest, the differences are pretty minimal. The language is the biggest thing—it’s completely different! I’m getting used to “sidewalks,” “vacation” and “cell phones” now, but the odd words still throw me!
Other than that, there are far more similarities than differences: at the heart of it, people are the same wherever you go! It’s, of course, a lot busier, but the good news is, New Yorkers seem to be just as friendly as the Scots! I think so many people move here from elsewhere, so everyone is in the same boat. It can be an overwhelming city to live in, but that’s part of the adventure.
Advice for other professionals going abroad?
Take time to get to know the area you are looking to live before you go. Speak to people who have gone through it already. Everyone is so happy to share their experiences, so don’t be afraid to ask. Everyone is new at some stage, and my other advice would be to go out and get involved!
Why Rémy Cointreau?
The crux of it is that they put people at the heart of everything they do. They don’t cut corners or do it the easy way; they have fully invested behind the principles that our brands stand for.
Bruichladdich was my first real experience of this at Rémy Cointreau, and now, working with Westland, I see the influence in the Pacific Northwest. On the surface, our Single Malt brands are quite different, but when you look at the people behind the liquid, you realize they share the same passionate emotional connection to a sense of place.
And for me, as a marketer, it makes my job so much easier to have brands that are rooted in provenance and authenticity. These are not just marketing buzzwords, but real stories of real people at our distilleries. And that, to me, is incredibly inspiring.