As you might imagine, the Isle of Harris Distillery is a highly complex operation, with many different moving parts and people involved.
From steam boilers and spirit stills, to a maze of pipework and panels, there are a myriad of complicated pieces of equipment to keep a close eye upon.
So, this week we’d like to introduce you to Facilities Co-ordinator Stephen Passmore, who helps make sure our spirit-making endeavour here in Tarbert runs smoothly and safely at all times.
Stephen joined the distillery team in September 2017 and was tasked with tackling everything from electrical faults and alarm testing to Health and Safety and all manner of major and minor repairs.
Originally from East Kilbride near Glasgow, he moved to the Isle of Harris in 2003 with his wife Rebecca (who also works in our Canteen) and their two children, settling in the beautiful, southern-most village of Rodel.
He was involved with the infill and land reclaim work of the site on which our distillery now sits, but also played another interesting role within our island community. He reveals…
“I was once a Harris bus driver, most famous for looking miserable behind the wheel. I think I got that reputation because I didn’t wave enough when passing oncoming motorists, an island thing you simply don’t do in East Kilbride unless you know who exactly who it is you’re waving at!”
We’re happy to say he’s more than mastered the island way of life by now, and his enthusiasm for his new home is clear.
“Harris", he tells us “is such a fantastic place to live, work and raise a family.”
Like many of us here on the island, Stevie also balances other activities with his full-time job. When he’s not repairing our distillery equipment you can find him in his loom shed, weaving the world-famous Harris Tweed.And, we’ve even roped him into cutting peats.
Like a number of our distillery team, he’s also an emergency service volunteer, on call as a retained firefighter with our local brigade whenever the pager calls. So life for Stevie, it seems, is never dull….
“I’m still not sure what a typical day for me is. As much as you plan ahead for how you think a day will go, it can change in a heartbeat. There is not a minute I don’t have something to do but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Our thanks to Stevie for his hard work in all areas of our distillery. If you visit us this year, you’ll no doubt spot him up a ladder or behind a drill. Feel free to give him a wave in passing and if his hands aren’t too full we’re confident he’ll remember to wave back...