22 December 2023
By Ali Kayalar, Oksijen Newspaper
Duygu Beypınar is now responsible for the production of the Talisker, Lagavulin, Oban, Caol Ila, Glenkinchie, Brora/Clynelish, and Singleton brands in Scotland, which is the heart of whisky production.
The British alcoholic beverage giant Diageo brought Duygu Beypınar from Mey Diageo to Scotland last year, and she has now taken on the role of director of malt distillation operations for the company. This means she'll manage the production operations of "premium" whiskies under the Diageo umbrella. Beypınar will be responsible for the Talisker, Lagavulin, Oban, Caol Ila, Glenkinchie, Brora/Clynelish, and Singleton brands. We asked her some questions related to her career journey which started with rakı production and now continuing with this prestigious seat in the whisky industry.
What does this new role mean?
In summary, I'll be responsible for a total of 15 different factories, consisting of malt whisky distilleries and malting facilities. I'm excited that I will be working on malt whiskies after years of focusing on rakı in Turkey. Taking on this role as a Turkish woman, as a citizen of the Republic, is a matter of immense pride for me.
When we last spoke, you mentioned you wanted to bring some Turkish-specific experiences to Scotland. Were you able to do that?
Yes, my first step was to understand the cultural similarities and differences in the work environment. We, Turkish people, have a fast and practical thinking process, we are able to make quick decisions, and possess a dynamic nature. Additionally, with my expertise gained over many years in rakı and craft rakı concepts, along with an innovative perspective, I'm using these experiences that I gained in Turkey, especially in significant project management scenarios.
Can you describe what you observed about the production and production culture in the beverage industry in Scotland?
In Scotland, beverage production and its culture are deeply rooted. You can feel this culture permeating everyday life in various ways. They are a society that highly values science, that’s why they conduct profound scientific research. They conduct educational tasting activities and tours to introduce different distilleries. There are specialized schools and master's programs for those wanting to improve themselves in this field. For them, beverages are almost a combination of science, culture, and art.
You initially went to the Cameronbridge Distillery...
Cameronbridge is Scotland's largest grain whisky production facility, producing approximately 100 million liters of grain whisky annually. It plays a significant role in blends like Johnnie Walker. The factory also produces Gordon's, Tanqueray, and Smirnoff. There are substantial sustainability improvements made here that have a global impact. The factory is so vast that its required electricity capacity to sustain production could illuminate a small settlement. Of course, achieving this requires collaboration with local authorities.
Islay is a small and wonderful island. What role does it play in Scottish whisky production, especially with brands like Lagavulin and Caol Ila under your new role?
There are globally renowned distilleries on the island, especially those known for producing whiskies using peat. Islay consistently brings new flavors to the whisky world due to its diverse geographical structure. The island is also excellent for its natural beauty, hiking trails, and bird watching. I feel lucky that I will be visiting the island frequently due to my new responsibilities.
"Women's influence is evident in every aspect, from the grain to glass."
CEO of Diageo Debra Crew, Operations Director Fiona Jones, Johnnie Walker Head Blender Emma Walker, and now yourself. What would you like to say about the rise of women in Scottish whisky production?
In recent years, we've witnessed the rise of women across all domains in the beverage industry. It's a meaningful coincidence for me to begin this significant role during such an important year as we celebrate the Turkish Republic's 100th anniversary. Alongside talented Turkish engineers abroad, I hope that I can inspire our youth on the path of contemporary civilization opened by Atatürk. I feel incredibly fortunate to have worked at Mey|Diageo, known as a company in Turkey where there is no glass ceiling for female employees. Growing up in this culture, I truly believe that with determination and effort, we can achieve anything. As a Turkish engineer, I believe this aligns with the strength of Turkish women.
What do women change?
I believe women fearlessly transform not only every field they touch but also life itself, modernizing it. This, I believe, is one of the greatest driving forces for our country. In every aspect, from the ground to the glass, we can see the influence of women. For instance, in Turkey, women constitute a significant portion of the agricultural workforce, particularly in grape cultivation. They work extensively in all areas of agriculture, from harvesting anise in fields to cutting grapes in vineyards. Their dedication to their work, their attention to detail, and their quality-focused approach stand out and positively impact the outcomes. In other words, women make as important contributions to our sector as they do to the entire business world.
Who is Duygu Beypınar?
Duygu Beypınar is a chemical engineering graduate from Istanbul University. She began her career as a production engineer at Mey|Diageo's Alaşehir Suma Factory.
Between 2018 and 2022, she worked as the Senior Manager of Quality, Technical, and Innovation at Mey|Diageo. She led the opening process of the Alaşehir Innovation Center and the creation of the Sensory Wheel of Raki. In August 2022, she was appointed as the Business Development Manager at Cameronbridge Distillery under Diageo Scotland. As of December 1, 2023, she has taken on the role of Malt Whisky Operations Director within Diageo.