Daniel Dyer is the Grant’s Whisky Global Brand Ambassador. He joined the whisky business at the age of 18 years and is now one of the world’s coolest whisky brand ambassadors.
Throughout his decade-long career, Daniel Dyer has worked as a bartender, led whisky tastings, and even written a whisky-tasting book on 100+ different whiskies. Dyer’s love for whisky is an open secret. And the fact that he is paid to tour the world talking about whisky, is more than a dream come true.
As part of his 2022 tour, he visited East Africa for the 2nd time to do what he does best. I recently got to chat with him about his cool job and everything in between.
How did you become Grant’s Global Brand Ambassador?
5 years ago, I was working in a whisky bar when my friend sent me a message… a Facebook Ad actually. It read, “Do you want to travel the world and talk about whisky?” At the time, I was already talking about whisky. So, it wouldn’t hurt to travel the world while doing it, (chuckles) I submitted my application.
Afterward, I made it to the top 20. Grant’s Whisky flew the 20 finalists to their distillery in Scotland. We went through several tests and games which was crazy but still a lot of fun. Finally made it to the last 3 where we were given a suitcase full of whisky. We traveled from Scotland to Russia, to Taiwan, to Australia, and then back. It was a 10-day trip to showcase our capabilities. A month later, I was called by Grant’s Whisky’s global director informing me that I had been selected to be the brand ambassador.
You were selected from a pool of over 5,000 applicants what would you say made you stand out?
I honestly don’t know! At Grant’s Whisky Distillery, I met 19 applicants. Beautiful people who are so passionate about whisky. Maybe it’s because I am Scottish and have a beard (chuckles). Maybe it was my long experience with whisky. I love whisky, super proud to be Scottish and to be talking about one of our largest exports. Moreover, I enjoy traveling and seeing whisky being drunk in so many different ways and in many cultures. I really don’t know why they picked me. It wasn’t a bribe though! (Chuckles).
What does your job entail?
A lot of it is media. I am quite a hyper person and I struggle to sit still. Bar work was interesting for me because every day was a different experience. Similarly, being an ambassador is kind of like that – every day is super different. For instance, on this trip to Kenya, I have done media tours, interviews, etc. Having such a diverse workday is really fun.
There is also bartender training. Bartenders influence people’s drinking cultures because they are always on the front line in the bar recommending to customers what to take. I love bartending but as an ambassador, I don’t get to do it. So, I live vicariously through the bartenders that I train. Lastly, is hosting events. It is really fun – music, food, drinks, partying.
Which misconception(s) about whisky annoys you the most?
There are a lot of misconceptions that piss me off. The one big thing on this list is that women don’t drink whisky. In fact, many women work in the whisky business now. They have a better sense of smell and taste. Whisky is for everyone.
The other thing is that whisky should only be taken neat and not mixed with ice, water, coke, or even in cocktails. We don’t tell people how to drink their coffee so why do it on whisky? It is OK to drink whisky neat, but no one should look down on you for mixing your whisky.
What has been the highlight of your brand ambassador career?
My first ever event in this role – Dubai. I created a massive event in the desert where we invited people from around the world to talk to about our whisky. We drove everyone on land rovers and served them whisky by the sunset.
The guests walked by torch-lit candles in a series of challenges demystifying myths about whisky. Additionally, we had the smelling and tasting different whiskies to identify which ones were single malt or blended scotch. Definitely one of the coolest events I have ever done because I spent way too much money on it (chuckles). Everyone in the company still talks about it to date.
How has this job impacted your life in general?
Massively! I don’t have a vibrant personal life at the moment, but it is by choice as I love doing what I do. Despite my love for whisky, I never really thought I would become a whisky brand ambassador… a global one for that matter. Now I travel a lot. Over the past 3 months, I have been to the USA, South America, Tanzania, and now here. This job has made me more emotionally mature as I get to meet different kinds of people from a variety of cultures. So yeah, massive impact on my life, but mostly good.
Having started at a distillery in Scotland to now being a global whisky brand ambassador, what advice would you give to young bartenders and aspiring brand ambassadors?
First and foremost, I was incredibly lucky to get this job, but I was also prepared. Besides, I also had a thirst for knowledge. If you want to be an ambassador, you have to be a team player as it is not about you, but the brand you represent. Anyone can be an ambassador but they have to understand the history of the product. Brand ambassadors need to know they are the face of a brand and are there to educate others. Also, don’t get too big for your boots, always check yourself.
For bartenders, you have to be a team player and love what you do. Every customer who comes to the bar is always looking for an experience. Lastly, stay thirsty for knowledge and keep learning.
If you were to have a superpower, what would you choose?
Teleportation! No doubt! One minute I’m here and the other, I can get back home, see my family then get back in a snap. Considering the kind of work, I do; teleportation would be the best. Plus, it would help our little planet as well.