1. Name and Job Title?
My name is Ronny Grant, I’m 75 and my job title is Visitor Experience Colleague but really, I’m one of the language-loving, whisky enthusiast tour guides here at The Clydeside Distillery. Actually, its maybe a little cheeky to say but I think I might love languages the most; I’m a bit of a polyglot.
2. When did you join?
I started before the distillery opened, on the 2nd October 2017. So over 2 years ago now!
3. Tell us about what your day at work involves?
Usually, I come in just after 9 o’clock and start setting up for the first tour of the day, which is normally at 10. First, I have to prepare our tasting room, this includes checking stock levels for the single malts involved in our tasting and making sure the amount of dram glasses we have out covers the amount of tours we will do that day. Also, depending on what groups we have in on the day, I will often look back at my notes on tour vocabulary in the languages I speak (Dutch, German, Italian, French and Spanish). Then, the rest of the day is centred around guiding The Clydeside and Chocolate & Whisky tours. I’m a musician at heart so what’s important to me is making a connection with people. At the Clydeside I can make the connection by sharing what I know about the history of Scotland and whisky, talking to people about what a Single Malt is and explaining some of the technical processes. Saying that, the easiest way to connect is to have fun.
4. Any unusual stories you can share with us?
Working with the public means that every day is different and there are a fair few stories. However, I want to tell you about the story of my childhood. I was born and grew up in Aruba, where the official languages are Papamiento (a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese) and Dutch. Yet, my parents spoke English in the household, some of my family were Scottish, so that was another language I grew up with. I went to a Dutch-speaking school in Aruba where you had to learn three other languages which meant at school, I practiced my English, which was pretty easy for me, Spanish and French. Having all these languages ingrained in me from a young age allowed me to quite easily develop skills in other Latin languages. I find them relatively similar. Portuguese is a sticking point for me, knowing Spanish means that I can understand it, but I want to learn to speak it fluently.
5. What’s the best part of your job?
Connecting with guests from all walks of life, every nationality, every day. I do love receiving feedback from guests and finding that they’ve enjoyed the tour; it means that my attempts to connect are working. I particularly enjoy telling guests about Glasgow’s whisky history and the important part the industry has played and does play today. For example, the history of Blended Scotch whisky is particularly interesting to me. Scotch whisky has been a hobby of mine for a while. Overall my main objective every day is to have this connection with visitors, make them laugh and have fun.
6. Is there anything you don’t like about your job?
As I’ve mentioned, above all I’m a musician which means that most of my life I have been self-employed and very independent. At The Clydeside we most often work as a team so it can be a little difficult to share the limelight and follow directions from other people. These days my tours are my show and they are very much my own.
7. If you weren’t working at The Clydeside Distillery what would your dream job be?
I would be performing music. I still do from time to time. I play piano and classical guitar, which I practice every day for 3 hours and write compositions for. I also sing, a highlight of my career was being asked to voice Sebastian the Crab in the Italian version of The Little Mermaid. At the moment, I’m actually practicing for a performance next year in Madrid. It’s an event for a big Spanish bank – I’m really looking forward to it.
8. What’s your favourite thing about your attraction?
Probably my favourite thing is seeing the production areas in the distillery every day and witnessing the creation of our new make spirit. Watching whisky come to life. I love to explain the production of alcohol to guests – it’s something that makes the tour interesting and a lot of people are impressed to learn how the natural sugar in barley turns into alcohol.
9.What’s your favourite thing to do in Glasgow in your spare time?
My wife and I are very much gourmet people. We have travelled across Scotland to eat at some amazing places. I read newspapers for any new foodie reviews or lists of new or good restaurants. Some of my favourite places to go are Grill 29, Eusebis, Rosani and Horn Please. We also go out a lot to the theatre – we are huge fans of the opera and you can quite often get cheap tickets at some of the theatres in Glasgow.