James Doherty Founder, Managing Director at Sliabh Liag Distillery

  • Presentation Title:

    Talking Heads

    Presentation Synopsis:

    • I’m a big fan of talking heads and to steal a line from “once in a life time” – What am I doing here
      • From corporates and big brands in HK to a distillery in Donegal,
      • working with smaller companies now I have a slightly contrary view on the world of growth
    • To paraphrase talking heads I want to help you ask yourself a couple of questions that may help you with the future of your business specifically to avoid you ever being in the situation where you are asking
      • How did I get here?
      • How do I work this ?
      • This is not my beautiful brewery?
      • Or worse someone just sold my beautiful distillery….
    • Invariably it is the quality of the question that matters and you could start with “who am I”
      • A brewer (a publican, a distributor a brand owner?)
      • A distiller ( a brand owner, a maker, a tour guide or a tea room manager?)
      • A baker (analogy of a friend who was going to buy a bakery and then another, then another – pointed out that she wanted to be a baker but her business plan was about becoming a retailer and she now teaches baking)
      • Be clear, revisit it, be honest
    • But more importantly “what/who do I want to be”
      • what is your end game” – Is there one, if not you haven’t dreamed far enough yet.
      • Are you and your partners agreed on it- write it down while you are still friends
      • What does that mean for how you structure your products, your brands, your place in your category
      • What is enough, what role does international markets play in this
      • Capacity – be careful what you wish for you could become a salesman and manager
    • Get it right and
      • who you are – it should be pretty straight forward
      • why you are doing this – might need to be teased out to get to the heart of it
      • Who you want to be –  if you haven’t dreamed far enough try harder and agree it with your colleagues
    • Haven’t worked te close yet

    Speaker Bio:

    Following a successful corporate career James with his co-founders has set out to “reclaim the distilling heritage of Donegal” with the Sliabh Liag Distillery. The Silkie, blended Irish whiskey was launched recently. He is Chairman of the Porterhouse and has held Managing Director positions at William Grant & Sons Distillers, and at brewers Foster’s International and SABMiller in Asia. His career started growing Tea and Coffee in Zimbabwe and Malawi, before finding his vocation in drinks and has now operated in over 150 markets. A knack for simplifying and innovating he has launched and developed brands in complex international markets that now including Donegal.  James returned to Ireland with his family to fulfill his ambition of building his own disHe is sport mad, a full time has been, particularly in rugby and golf and an enthusiastic but poor fly fisherman.