Social Media Distilled – Carl Reavey

A new week has started and most of you probably suffers from the Monday syndrome, so it’s time to reach that oh-so-needed-coffee (or tea) and recover from the shock with another interview in the “Social Media Distilled” series.

And this week – Carl Reavey of Bruichladdich distillery (which I had the honor to meet last October) and handle the Bruichladdich presence on Twitter & Facebook. Enjoy!

Please tell us a bit about yourself. 

carl reaveyCarl Reavey, 57 years old.

I have enjoyed an eclectic career including Elastomeric warping, making Raleigh cycles, building PA systems, roadie, sound engineer, wildlife tour guide, boatman, Product manager, General Manager for music business electronics company, Islay hotelier, property developer, and editor of Islay’s local newspaper. I now manage media content for Bruichladdich.

What is your exact position in the distillery? Could you tell us a little about your journey in the whisky industry?

Content Creation Manager. First got involved with whisky as a hotelier on Islay from 1995, and met Mark Reynier in 1997 who subsequently led the consortium that bought Bruichladdich in 2000. I have always taken a keen interest since then, and worked closely with Mark on various media and web projects.

How much of your day to day activity is dedicated to social media?

About 50%. Sometimes more. We like to keep our social media channels active every day if possible and generating quality and eclectic content that is genuinely engaging is time consuming.

How do you see and define the audience on the different social media networks? From your point of view, are there any differences between Facebook, Twitter and other sites?

There are very significant differences, in terms of what constitutes appropriate content, the presentation and the style. There are also considerable areas of overlap of course….

What are your goals when engaging the audience via social networks? How do you measure success?

To engage in conversation with anyone interested in Bruichladdich. Measuring success is difficult. Metrics tell only a limited amount and many are very difficult to analyse, indeed can be counter-intuitive.


Can you point out any other distillery/group that works well in social networks? What are they doing right?

Don’t know.

How can distilleries distinguish their activity and brand on the net? Are there any other areas, besides Social Networks, in which you can promote your brand?

We believe that it is important that our social media voice comes from the distillery rather than a remote agency. We genuinely wish to have an authentic connection with the good people who drink our whiskies and support us. We have an active news section in our website that we try to keep updated.

Are images as effective as text in social networks? Or maybe even more effective?

The two are indivisible in my view. We rarely use images without text and even more rarely use text without images.

bruichladdich at night

What was your highlight moment with your Social Networks work? Which parts of it do you enjoy, personally?

I enjoy people responding positively to photographs that I have taken, that speak about our island home and not necessarily simply about the whisky.

What were the weirdest and funniest (separately!) interactions/contacts you ever got through social network?

We don’t get many jokers really. Whisky people tend to be pretty serious in my view. I think the somewhat irreverent Laddie style sometime bemuses people…

Do you remember your first whisky dram? What was it? Did you like it right away?

I have always enjoyed a dram. I remember going to the pub at lunchtime from school on my 17th birthday and drinking far too much whisky, which got me into a bit of trouble, but probably not as much as it would today. We used to drink with our teachers back then – forty years ago. I also remember going into a pub and deciding to have a whisky and soda. The barman poured me the dram and handed me a soda syphon. I had never used one before so held my glass up to the spout and pressed the lever. The soda shot out and propelled the whisky out of the glass and all over the bar. Not very cool. But I continued to enjoy it despite these setbacks. I love gin too, but I don’t think I have ever touched a vodka. What would be the point?

I used to mix sound for an Irish band called The Undertones and my drinks ‘rider’ consisted of a bottle of Bushmills Blackbush and six pints of milk a day. So I had an Irish whisky phase. I first started to enjoy Islay malts while doing a lot of international travel in the 1980’s. I started buying Laphroaig and Bowmore in duty free shops and experimenting a bit. Then we had quite a wee collection on the fishing boat and would enjoy a ‘Minnie’ most nights.

What’s your current favorite whisky? Where do you like to have it?

laddiebottlesI always enjoy the Laddie Valinch bottlings that are available at the distillery. I am also really enjoying Port Charlotte Scottish Barley at the moment. Whiskies from our neighbouring distillery at Kilchoman are also a favourite. As is very old Bunnahabhain from the 1960s, although that is expensive and hard to find! I have a couple of bottles stashed away though…



Do you have any ceremonies or quirks related to drinking whisky?

I like whisky to be served in large wine glasses and brandy balloons. Usually with a few drops of water.

Do you prefer drinking alone or with others?

I have to admit to enjoying both….

Do you limit your drinking? If so, in what way?

I like to think I don’t drink to excess very often. If I drink too much I tend to simply fall asleep…

Do you get to drink on the job? Do you HAVE to drink on the job? 🙂

I TASTE on the job all the time, but only drink socially….

tasting on the job

Do you have a professional dream?

Retirement… LOL….

Thanks Carl!

Previous interviews: Jennifer Nicol of Tomatin



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