Electrical and Electronic Engineering student Vihan Fonseka spent four weeks at Mourne Dew Distillery as part of our Working Globally from NI programme. Read his experience below.
Going outside my comfort zone
I started my International Marketing Assistant with Mourne Dew Distillery just a week after my final year exams ended. I was very excited from the start as this experience would be outside my comfort zone and a whole new domain for me coming from an engineering background. This opportunity would be put in a place where I can expand and learn new skills and broaden my perspective.
Learning about the company
My interest for Mourne Dew began when I came across the internship posting where I was impressed to learn about their story from starting very small to now producing award winning Whiskies, Gins, Vodkas and Poitins. The craftmanship involved in producing these spirits further attracted me to apply as I learned about how Mourne Dew infuses the essence of the famous Mourne Mountains into their products as well as various botanicals. From a perspective of an international student and someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, I found the craftmanship, dedicate and innovation that goes into making these products very interesting and something I would like to be a part of.
Leading my own projects
My internship at Mourne Dew consisted of various projects that I led and delivered. From conducting research into revamping the current booking system through analysing suitable software to collecting and compiling business tenders to sell the byproduct of the production being hand sanitizers I was exposed to different functions of the business from Day 1. Mourne Dew is still a growing business, and I partook in their expansion efforts through conducing market research into the spirit markets of USA, Poland and Germany, I was able to learn about different spirit products, various pricing methods, ingredient mix and generally what whisky or gin or vodka is popular in different regions.
In addition to working remotely, I was able to visit the distillery in Warrenpoint and meet the team behind it. Neil Flemming (Sales Manager) had kindly picked me up and brought me to the distillery plant. It was interesting to see the production process of creating high quality Whisky, Gin, Vodka and Poitin as Eimear and Donal (Operations Assistant) gave me a breakdown of the distillation process, packaging and was impressed that the entire batch is made by hand. I had also got a sniff of the different experimental botanical mixtures that Donal (owner) had been testing from seaweed to citrus and they all smelled incredible.
Overall, working at Mourne Dew for the past 4 weeks had been an incredible experience that helped me step into a totally different domain, learning about marketing, sales and generally how a distillery is run.