UK Sales and Operations Director
Having spent a career immersed in the sale and presentation of premium craft spirits, Ryan now leads our UK-based sales team, while providing guidance to teams internationally. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, where he studied Astrophysics, his analytical brain is now employed in a role that combines his expertise and his passion. He started on this path during his period of study, having graduated quickly from enjoying whisky and real ale tastings to hosting them himself. He has an undeniable taste for the finer things and brings a laser-sharp focus to whisky appreciation. Never a snob, though, he’s equally happy with a cold tinny and a Scotch pie.
During time spent in various roles at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, he hosted over 200 masterclass tastings, festival events, participated in tasting panels and wrote official society tasting notes. Extensive experience with luxury hospitality brands, including the management of two bar and lounge outlets at The Caledonian Waldorf Astoria 5* hotel, and supervision of the bar at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, ensure Ryan is ideally positioned to manage our portfolio of premium brands and offer an unmatched luxury experience for our discerning client base.
APAC Sales Director
Born in New Zealand, but having spent his childhood in Edinburgh, Scotland, before attending University in Glasgow, Patrick’s entry into the whisky industry is a tale of a hobby developing into a career. He started collecting whisky in 2011 with his brother, while working in the cocktail industry, which really sparked a passion for the high end spirits industry.
While completing an internship in Mongolia, Patrick noticed how enthusiasm for Scottish whisky was spreading rapidly across Asia and this helped him realise the market potential. When offered a role with Cask 88 in 2015, he took the chance to meld his passion and career. His fondness for whisky comes clearly across whenever he is given the chance to speak about it, and he has consulted for and hosted engaging tastings with prestigious clients, such as the Peninsula Shanghai, in locations as diverse as Singapore, Russia, China and the UK.
The first whisky Patrick really enjoyed was the Dalmore King Alexander III, which he remembers sharing with three friends on Jura after a week-long trip visiting all the distilleries on Islay and Jura. Patrick wants to share his great love for the Scottish whisky industry, which offers exceptional hospitality, warmth and conviviality – a warm-heartedness large enough to have spread far beyond Scotland’s borders.
Every single whisky journey is unique, and Fraser’s is no exception. After 25 years within Sales and Sales Management, that included a spell running his own business, Fraser is now living his whisky dream with Cask 88. He is a proud Scot; and cites the history, heritage, landscape and its people as a continual inspiration: “To be able to promote our incredible quality and range of Scottish Whisky to a global marketplace is both an honour and challenge in equal measure. My own whisky collection has grown along with an ever-increasing desire to taste, find and offer more incredible liquid each new day.”
Fraser is always happy to offer advice and guide clients in an honest and straightforward way, and prides himself on customer retention and the loyalty of his clients. If not in Castle Street, he can be found stravaiging the hills and mountains, visiting a distillery or warehouse, soaking in the historical monuments and sites of Scotland, or just relaxing with a rather large dram.
Favourite Malts: Caol Ila, Highland Park, Rosebank and Dallas Dhu
Favourite Blend: Old Perth
Favourite Grain: Cambus
Sales Development Manager
Ola’s career has seen her regularly immersed in the world of whisky, while developing her sales and business development experience in general. Three years spent at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society – where she was responsible for the accounts of approximately 200 corporate members and agencies, managing private events and whisky tastings, while supervising whisky stock. The SMWS is well known for the creative genius of its tasting notes, and Ola continues to have an inimitable flair for telling a whisky what it really is.
Those with a passion for motorbikes will have lots to discuss with Ola, given her couple of years as a sales consultant with Harley-Davidson in Edinburgh. One dream job led her to another, this time returning her to whisky, though you can still sometimes find her blasting around on a dirtbike when she’s not got a whisky in her system. Ola’s sense of adventure, her eye for detail and passion for a great dram are well-employed in her role at Cask 88. She is an enthusiastic and expert guide to all those wishing to explore the wonders that Scotland has to offer.
The study of Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath has provided a solid technical background for James’ career in the wine and spirits industry. Whisky making is, after all, one of the greatest feats in this delicate art. Starting as a Wine Advisor with Oddbins, James moved quickly into the world of whisky, spending four years at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society as a brand ambassador. In that role, he hosted large groups of up to 1,300 whisky enthusiasts for master classes, conducted intimate tastings for small groups, and managed stalls at whisky festivals. His nose was entrusted with the delicate task of choosing which casks to present to the society.
While a Single Malts Brand Ambassador for William Grant & Sons and Whyte & Mackay brands in the MIddle East and North Africa, James encouraged trade and consumer appreciation and understanding of the single malt category. James brings warehouse experience, consumer engagement skills and a finely-tuned nose for whisky appreciation to the Cask 88 team in Edinburgh.
Seoyoung ‘Mila’ Kang
A flair for business, along with extensive hospitality experience and a developed aptitude for wine and spirits appreciation, have prepared Seoyoung for the challenges at Cask 88. Having studied at both Kyung Hee University and the University of Edinburgh Business School, she has strong business acumen and analytical skills. Her knowledge of wine and spirits is second to none, and she holds Sommelier certification with the Korea International Sommelier Association and the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Having travelled widely and hedonistically, Seoyoung is a connoisseur of exotic foods and drinks, which lend her a unique insight into whisky.
With funding won from the Korean Government’s ‘Challenge 1000 Projects’ contest in 2014, Seyoung co-founded Ga Yang Chu, a successful consulting business for marketing and branding strategies for small-sized Korean wine makers. To the Cask 88 office, she brings a love of whisky, an entrepreneurial mindset and an infectious personality, which energises those around her.
PR & Communications Strategist
Since cutting her PR teeth with clients in the arts in Scotland, including theatre, music, cinema and publishing, Miriam has managed media and communications strategies for businesses, small and large, and independent professionals, in the spirits industry and luxury retail. Her appreciation of a good dram, and a love of the hospitality world, with all its warmth and energy, have led her to represent Cask 88 and be involved in a variety of their projects. She knows the virtues of Scotch whisky inside and out, and is on a mission to spread the good news.
Tokyo, London and New York are among the locations where Miriam has had the pleasure of hosting media and client events, with the aim to communicate the rich history, science and storytelling which surrounds a great bottle of whisky. She has more recently picked up the gavel (metaphorically speaking) to curate Cask 88’s new online cask auctions, the first online platform dedicated to auctioning whole casks of Scottish whisky.
Head of Content
Ever since his grandmother rubbed a few drops of her preferred blended Scotch on his gums to ease the emergence of his first teeth, Sam Laing has had a connection with whisky. Since moving to Scotland five years ago Sam has become ever more devoted to a good dram. His background in Biological Science focused his curiosity on the hidden science behind the spirit – the unique alchemy that each distillery works in creating its own style.
Sam spent a stint working at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh where he introduced countless new aficionados to Scotch, uprooted the concerns of whisky sceptics and reassured those who had already taken first steps on their own whisky odyssey that their path was a righteous one. Sam brings this same spirit to Cask 88, guiding whisky enthusiasts and new converts alike along the path of whisky appreciation and cask ownership. He writes the Cask 88 blog with aplomb, and though his train of thought may skip stations on the route, we all arrive at the destination as better people.
Lead Creative Designer
With experience of designing products for major luxury brands in the spirits world and beyond, Stu is the ideal candidate to make your whisky dream a reality. During a period of study at Northumbria University and Bristol School of Art & Design, he worked with many recognisable brands, such as TATA Motors of India, Michelin, Tag Heuer, Jones & Bowen of London. He has designed shop fit and visual merchandising for various blue chip retailers and, while working with a previous employer, designed drinks related products for a wide range of global, luxury brands, hotels and bars, including Absolut, Chivas Brothers, William Grant & Sons, Bacardi, The Savoy and The Connaught Hotel. If you’re an avid spirits collector, you may already have one of Stu’s designs on your shelf!
Stu nearly broke the internet in 2011 when his design was pinned on numerous websites internationally. The winner of a 2011 graphics competition, Stu’s artwork is now a permanent installation mural in the Business and Law School at Northumbria University. Now turning his creative attention full on to whisky, we anticipate some breathtaking new designs.
Leah Rose Alejandrino
Public Relations Specialist, Asia
A graduate of Information and Communications Technology, Leah has her finger on the pulse of all the trends in technology, social media and marketing. She has combined this passion and experience with a long held love of whisky in a role at Cask 88, where she drives the strategy for customer experience to ensure our clients thoroughly enjoy their cask ownership journey and are supported along the way. With a passion for travelling, and many years of experience in luxury leisure and corporate travel, Leah was the obvious choice to manage our client concierge. When our clients visit Scotland in search of whisky adventures, Leah ensures the trip is seamless and secure. If you’re seeking the best of luxury hotels or restaurants, chances are Leah has a recommendation or two.
When Leah is not taking care of our clients, she is treating her seven dogs to long walks and endless cuddles, or exploring the far reaches of the globe with her family.
Lead Graphic Designer, Asia
With extensive experience in multimedia, marketing and print design under her belt, Ellaine joined the Cask 88 team right at the start of our journey in Asia in 2015. She knows that a love of whisky not only depends on the taste and aroma: strong aesthetics are also key. She helped shape the visual identity of Cask 88 and is now focused on creating whisky label designs for numerous projects, both in-house and for clients who have chosen to bottle their cask with us. She also turns her creative eye to the creation of business proposals, presentations and engaging social media graphics when the need arises. When not working on designs for Cask 88, she is an avid photographer and finds her inspiration through Korean drama and music (She knows the words to every song released by BTS).