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A Message From the M.D.

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Simon Erlanger, managing director.

Dear friends in spirit,

It’s hard to believe that just 3 weeks ago we were as busy as ever, our team of 36 working hard to prepare for the upcoming tourist season, opening up new international markets for our gin, developing some exciting new initiatives and dealing with a leaking condenser on one of our whisky stills.

Little did we know!

Today the distillery is largely silent, with just 3 people fulfilling online and export orders in separate parts of the building and preparing ethanol for conversion into hand sanitiser.

Everyone else is on furlough leave or working from home. Those working from home are keeping busy, carrying out administrative tasks and staying in touch with our customers around the world.

This is the Social Distillery! Community, looking out for each other, lending a hand, all are second nature on the island, not values which now have to be re-discovered. At the same time, being isolated every so often and needing to adapt to changing circumstances is simply what we do in Harris.

Nonetheless, I have been astonished at how the team have risen to this challenge. They know that we are all in this together and that we are facing this as one big family.

They know that we will manage through this one day at a time. Daily, weekly and fortnightly check-ins with everyone, using a variety of technologies, keep everyone feeling connected and cared for.

At the same time, we are already starting to look to the future, considering what the next month, the next 3 months and eventually what the ‘new normal’ might look like.

We will use our Purpose and Values for guidance and the spirit of cooperation that has got us to where we are today. And meanwhile, we keep safe, look out for our neighbours and continue to stay connected as best we can.

Wherever you are, I hope you have what you need to get through this and are able to adapt to a pace of life that is perhaps more akin to what we have always known on the Isle of Harris.

Good health to you all,

Simon Erlanger

Managing Director, Isle of Harris Distillers Ltd.

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