Working at Rémy Cointreau since: May 2013
Current position: Manager – Engagement and Education SEA
Based in: Singapore
3 skills required to work in your team: Passion, Creativity, Honesty
Scott’s testimonial: a passion for spirits
What does your role as Manager for Engagement and Education entail?
Currently my role requires me to oversee the development and implementation of on-trade programming and activations for the South East Asian markets.
Client-facing, my role is to encourage the creative use of our portfolio in the trade and increase awareness and knowledge of our brands, so that they know what makes our incredible spirits as unique as they are. South East Asia, driven by Singapore, is becoming one of the top cocktail markets in the world, so I am working to ensure that Remy Martin is the portfolio of choice for some of the world’s best cocktail bars like ATLAS and Manhattan.
Internally, in addition to on-trade program development, I try to help our markets and brands develop a deeper understanding of the on-trade hospitality industry and how we can modify our approach to best suit the on-trade customer needs.
Where does your passion for spirits come from?
I have been working within the industry for just over 15 years, having first started working in hospitality in 2005 as a bartender. I was immediately smitten with how dynamic the food & beverage industry was and decided that I needed to find a way to build a career within it. Wine & Spirits, Food & Beverage, Hospitality – whatever you want to call it – attracts such a vibrant array of passionate personalities. When you’re out having a drink or a meal, you’re always surrounded by a colorful cast of people, from all walks of life, who just love being social and in the company of others.
Internal mobility: the move to Singapore
You joined the group as Brand Ambassador for Mount Gay Rum. How did the switch to your current role happen?
I had been on the Crafted Spirits team for a few years before I started to look at other opportunities to grow within Remy Cointreau, and a conversation between myself and Richard Lambert led to a larger discussion with Eli Tona – who at that time was the Marketing Director for SEAP. South East Asia, and Singapore in particular, was fast becoming one of the hottest cocktail markets in the world, so when the opportunity to move over here and to be a part of this dynamic scene became available, I couldn’t say no.
How did this internal mobility go? Was your previous experience as Brand Ambassador helped you for this new challenge?
The transition was super smooth. I was initially worried that there might have been some growing pains adjusting to life in Asia, especially considering that my first time visiting Singapore was to sign an apartment lease as I had already accepted my new role…
But I quickly came to find out that Singapore is very much a melting pot like New York. The cultural diversity and liveliness made me feel as though I was in a – much cleaner and hotter – version of NYC. What internally what made me feel really adjusted was the team in the office. We have such an international team over here, so it felt like just moving to a different house, but within the same family.
Industry-wise, as I was adjusting, I really leant on the global bar community, and the vast network of F&B professionals who are eager to welcome fellow industry members. I was like to have a number of industry friends like Jesse Vida (ATLAS now, formerly Blacktail NYC) and Andy Loudon (Tippling Club now, formerly Satan’s Whisky LDN) all coincidentally move over here within a year of each other from the US, Australia, and Europe, so it’s like we’re all still at the bar having a few drinks after work, but just doing it in Asia.
Working in the spirits industry and at Rémy Cointreau
7 years with us and still counting: what do you feel is the most specific thing about building a career at Rémy Cointreau?
First, understanding the core values of our company and products, and how they align with your own. Whether it’s the focus on foraging at The Botanist, the celebration of people who work at Port Charlotte, to the strong focus on environmental causes at a corporate level, once you find something that inspires you, your passion at the company will grow.
From a personal standpoint, I think it is important to keep an open mind and approach the job with passion, while pushing yourself to look at how our company works from all angles. When I first started, it was important to me to master my role, now that I feel confident in my role, I have been endeavoring to learn how the commercial teams, our compliance teams, and our GTR teams all operate, so that I may really understand this industry on a deeper level.
Oh, and go to as many bars as you can. Start with one new bar each week. When you see how the real-world application of our products applies, and the cultures in which they are consumed, you develop a true understanding of what we are doing in the world!
Any advice for a candidate who would consider joining us?
Get to know our brands well. The more you start to research the rich history and amazing people behind them, it will show how incredibly vibrant the culture of our spirits, and by extension, our company is. I always said that I would never want to work with products that I, in my personal life, would not use or consume. And I can honestly say that there is not one of these spirits that I wouldn’t feel proud to drink or serve to others.
Also, dive in the deep end when it comes to job opportunities with us and look outside your home country. Moving to Asia has shown me that Remy has truly amazing teams all around the world. If you see your dream role available in South Africa? Central America? Dubai? Malaysia? Go for it!