Social media meets barley, water and terroir


Bruichladdich (pronounced Brook-LADDIE) makes Islay whisky the old-fashioned way. In just ten years, the small team has rescued a classic brand by re-connecting it to the geography, geology and climate of Islay.

The marketing team is also tiny, so the CEO feeds Twitter while social media manager Carl Reavey maintains the brand’s Facebook page. Eight distillery webcams bring lovers of the whisky right to the stills and mash tuns. And every page on the website has social sharing buttons.

For Bruichladdich, social media is all about capturing the spirit of place and the people behind the brand – then sharing it with a growing fan base. Even though they’re just starting out in social media, they’re doing it in a very real way and it works.

On Twitter: @Bruichladdich
On Facebook:


Carl Reavey on Sharing

Bruichladdich has been on an incredible journey since the distillery was bought and taken out of mothballs ten years ago. One of the ideas behind our social media is to share that journey with people who like the product and the brand and like to feel connected to our journey.

The concept of terroirs is absolutely central to what we do – it’s about Islay, the soil, the climate, the barley varieties we use, our methods and our people. This is what we’re about and what we try to capture in our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

We take a very personal approach. The Facebook page is simply about what we do and where we are.

On A Sense of Place

We also share the challenges of the barley farmers we work with – whether it’s about having to wait until the barnacle geese leave before planting; or too much rain in May making the fields too soft to plow.

People like that we share all this. These are the posts that get ‘likes’ – we also post reviews of our whiskies, and that’s expected, but it’s the posts about Islay and our people that get the most response.

We work closely with ten farms on Islay and we share this relationship with people on Facebook. We follow the process, watching the barley grow, from planting through harrowing and sowing through to the whisky.

And we share events on Islay – we reported on a hurricane that hit us in January – and a series of small earthquakes on the island.

All of it connects people to the place and the people behind the brand. That’s so central to who we are and what we do.

On Virtuous Cycles

We have what we call ‘virtuous cycles’ in our business – one example: farmers grow the barley, we turn it into whisky, the draff is sent back to feed the cattle, they fertilise the fields and so on.

There’s a virtuous cycle in our social media too – our products and stories go out and people engage with us, bringing their stories back to us; we share them and the cycle continues.

#Social Success Lessons

  • Share the journey your business is going through
  • Keep it real: think about what your brand is about and reflect that
  • You don’t need a huge social media team: just do it!
  • Think about including your suppliers and their stories in your social content

Read about more of our Social Heroes.

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