#5minutes with Andy Watts & Jeff Green of the award winning @JSDistillery @ThreeShipsSA @bainswhisky

This evening’s #5minutes is a double bill – The James Sedgwick Distillery Team of Andy Watts & Jeff Green


Your official job title:

Distillery Manager – The James Sedgwick Distillery

What is an average week for you?

Each day will consist of the evaluation of spirit off the still (new make) and whisky out of maturation. Any blends that need to be made up will also be evaluated to ensure consistency of quality.

Currently lots of “Bob the Builder” meetings with the ongoing construction of a new maturation warehouse.

There is no fixed pattern but ad hoc tastings for VIP visitors to the site (trade and internal guests) and also possible travel to help marketing activations.

Twice weekly formal meetings with my management team to evaluate performance against targets and determine new targets.


Lots of unplanned work as in a 24/7 operation nothing ever goes wrong between 9 and 5 on a Monday to Friday.

What’s the message you want to get across to consumers this year?

Continue to put the message across that the quality and affordability of our brands are unquestionable. Continue to engage with the consumer at every possible opportunity to try to change the perception that local whisky can’t rank alongside the whiskies of the more established whisky producing nations.

What’s different for the consumer this year at the FNB Whisky Live SA Festival?

I will be hosting 2 master classes whereby I will be showing, over and above the normal offerings, some “WIP”. Just a little view into the innovative work which we are busy with at the distillery

Any other comments?

Although I am entering into my 23rd year as Distillery Manager every year becomes more and more challenging and the projects we are handling more and more exciting. It’s a good space to be in at the moment J



Your official job title:

Process Manager

What is an average week for you?

Most of us are at work every morning at 7:15 checking on how the evening went and getting the day going.  I’ll liase between production, maturation and the maintenance department regarding anything that they need to be aware of.  Normally a quick discussion with Andy Watts to update him of what is happening and get feedback and advice. Later we will take a walk around the site and get a general overview of activities. The new make spirit is of particular importance to me in my role and that will be evaluated by a team, along with the new lots that have come out of maturation and what is being prepared to be sent for bottling.  As with any job there is an admin part that takes up a large portion of the day, but that it broken up by regular checks and tastings on production.  In the evening I’ll sometimes pop in to ensure that things are progressing smoothly.  We are not contained with fixed working hours – distillation is a 24/7 operation and the hands on touch is constantly needed to ensure consistency and correct flavour profile. I’m part of a small passionate and dedicated team that is working towards making SA Whiskies a household name.


What’s the message you want to get across to consumers this year: 

South Africa makes unique whiskies that are highly regarded locally and internationally.

 What’s different for the consumer this year at the FNB Whisky Live SA Festival?

This year they will see more emphasis on style, and not age of the whisky. The quality of people working behind the tasting counters is also high and this is really the opportunity to learn about whisky and sample those brands that you would not normally consider.  There are also quite a few special releases that you will not get the opportunity to taste again.  From our side it is fantastic to be able to offer people the chance to taste Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky which received the WWA World’s Best Grain Whisky 2013 and open their minds to the fact that whisky is a global product and not only confined to the traditional countries.


Any other comments?


Whisky is about style and personal preference. There is not one whisky to suit everyone’s taste and that’s why you should also have as many whiskies as you can in your collection to truly experience what whisky can offer.  So please come to the Bain’s stand and have a dram and a chat with me!