A day in the life of a graduate distiller

Karen Cotter outlines her journey and experiences as part of the Jameson Graduate Distiller Programme.



My name is Karen. I am currently working as a Graduate Distiller with Jameson.  I studied process & chemical engineering at UCC. During the third and fourth year of my course I had to do a 6 month placement. I was really lucky to get a placement at Midleton Distilleries in Cork. During this placement I gained insight into the production of whiskey from grain to glass. I also learned all about the heritage and history of whiskey production which triggered my decision to apply for the Jameson Distillery Graduate Programme.


The application for this graduate programme included an online and video application. The most difficult part about applying for this programme was making the application video. My advice for someone applying is to not let this stand in your way! Since I have joined the company I can now see why the video application is such an important part of the selection process. Not only is the company looking for someone with technical knowledge, they also want their graduates to have a personality and the confidence to engage with consumers and be comfortable speaking in public. After all my hard work I was delighted to be successful in my application for the Jameson Distillers Graduate Programme and I have never looked back.

Day to day life

I have been part of the Graduate Distiller programme for the past two years where, day to day, I worked primarily in the Batch Brewhouse, the Bond Area (where all of the whiskey is matured) and I also got my first experience of pot distillation, conducting whiskey tasting for consumers and giving site tours of the distillery to visitors. It’s so much fun giving the tours around the distillery and I have met a wide range of people from all over the world during my time with Jameson!

I found that through my time on the Graduate Distiller Programme, my public speaking and confidence improved dramatically. This came in handy last September when I had to give a speech at the opening of the Micro Distillery, which was attended by the Tánaiste. Something I did not expect to be doing two years after graduating from an engineering degree!


Towards the end of the Graduate Distillers Programme, I started looking at my job options. Luckily a position opened for a Micro Distiller with Jameson. This was a fantastic opportunity and all of my experience as part of the Graduate Distiller Programme helped me get the job! My main roles in this position involves me operating plant machinery, as well as interacting with customers and visitors.

If you like the sound of my life and the role I had as part of the Jameson Graduate Distillers Programme, you can still apply! Closing date is 1pm on Wednesday 25th November 2015.

For more information about careers advice check out the gradireland website.

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