“Work hard, be yourself, enjoy everything that you do, knowing that, if you can do these three things, whilst respecting our company values, you could work almost anywhere in the world.” Hear more from Nick Rees—Marketing Manager for our Middle East & India Zone—about what it’s like to live in Dubai and work with us.
Your port of entry into the spirits world?
I started out working in bars and nightclubs as a student and loved the drinks industry from the very beginning. Post-university, I joined a regional brewer through their UK graduate program, and worked for them for three years, focusing on marketing for their pubs. I moved to Dubai in early 2004 to join a locally-based distributor, initially working on their beer portfolio as a Brand Manager, and later moved into the world of spirits as a category Marketing Manager. I moved to become the head of sales and marketing for an alcoholic beverage company in 2013, which gave me my first insight into a broader, multi-regional role. I joined Rémy Cointreau in 2016 as Regional Marketing Manager.
What sparked your desire to move from the UK to the United Arab Emirates?
Honestly back in 2004 Dubai was not well known, so it was a risk. I remember my friends saying, “There are only camels and sand. Why would you want to move there?” So, it was unknown, but I really wanted to try working in a different country and experience living abroad. I was delighted to find that there was more than camels and sand, and I’ve made it my home ever since.
How did you find your current role at Rémy Cointreau?
During my time as a beer brand manager, I worked on one of the brands represented at that time by our now Zone Director, Antoinette Drumm. I always loved working with her, and even after she left to take on a new role, we always kept in touch. Both Antoinette and I had moved on to different roles during this time and had been working for Rémy Cointreau for several years. When she called and asked if I would like to apply for the position, she did not even have to finish asking the question!
What does your role entail?
I see my role as bringing life to our amazing portfolio of brands for our clients through experiences, communication, education and, hopefully, lots of fun. We have brands that are hundreds of years old, but every day, I speak to people who are discovering them for the first time and are amazed. This is what I love most, as our full portfolio has such incredible heritage. There are so many opportunities for our portfolio within our region, and you want to try and seize them all at once. The region is so dynamic that you need to be really disciplined to focus on long-term goals.
What distinguishes Rémy Cointreau?
I joined Rémy Cointreau to work for one person, but in joining, I also found a great team. I really look forward to our team meetings, as I know there will be lots of work but also some great team building. Beyond our zone, internationally, everyone I have met is an individual and is treated like one. Despite our size, we are still a family company. It is rare these days to find a balance between the company’s reach and maintain that connection that you are working for a family business. I have been able to meet many of the family members, which really cements that feeling and concept of transmission at the heart of our philosophy. Everything I do, every decision I take, is made in the context of whether it is going to make it better for the person that follows me.
Biggest misconception about working in Dubai?
Simple! People still ask me, even after I have told them what I do, whether you can drink in Dubai!
Favorite local spots to drink and dine?
We are fortunate to have incredible bars and restaurants. You can experience about any world cuisine. Zuma, Le Petite Maison, Coya & Cipriani are fantastic with awesome ambience. At.Mosphere boasts breathtaking views over the city. For drinks, the cigar bar at Fairmont on the Palm is superb, as is the team at Gold on 27. To enjoy sunset and the beach, Barasti & Zero Gravity are must-visits. For a relaxing, informal Botanist & Tonic, there is no place like the Irish Village, especially in the winter.
Please drink responsibly.