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Alastair Allan

Sales Director at Woodwinters wines & whiskies

  • What was your favourite subject at school?

For me it would have to be English and Geography- Words and maps, that sense of travel and discovery have always interested me, and I feel that they are somehow linked into one another- I was never the best academically but found it easy to make friends.

  • What was your first job?

My first real- and full-time job was a trainee manager with The Reo Stakis Organization-working 6 months in each department of the hotel has left with me with a lifelong love and understanding of the hotel world and the people that call it their workplace.

  • Which is your favourite restaurant /hotel?

Really tricky-I love a few places in Majorca but closer to home- Crabshakk at The Botanics is great, modern full of atmosphere and terrific staff. Hotel- I think The Pierhouse in Port Appin is just lovely- not luxurious but simply a beautiful place to spend a chilled out few days- magnificent views, food and atmosphere- the west of Scotland at it’s best.

  • How do you inspire your team

I would like to think that I have always shown empathy with those that have reported into me-understanding the person as well as the problem- Calm, dignity and respect have always worked best for me- Lead by example.

  • Which person in hospitality have you most admired / inspired you?

Away back in my timeline the first shop manager I worked for when I was at Oddbins was as chap called Gordon Brown an ex teacher who loved wine. His natural enthusiasm along with his great knowledge and his personality really rubbed off on me and started my interest in the world of wine. I have also hugely admired, although unfortunately never met Anthony Bourdain who managed to mix his love of food and travel with his appreciation of the people who work in the industry. A top chap!

  • How do you manage your stress levels?

I try to ensure that I take time away from business- we all need to dedicate time to ourselves and our friends and family-and that sometimes means people not involved in our industry.

  • Instagram, Twitter or Facebook – and why?

None of them- I was here a long time before any of these guys were around- I still believe in good old one to one and personal chat- While I appreciate what social media can do in a positive light- I think we need to be mindful that it can at times be quite damaging to a percentage of our fellow man!

  • If you had not gone into hospitality, where do you
    think you would be now?

I Guess it might have been journalism of some sort or perhaps something to do with the outdoor, the environment- But after some 45 years in this industry it is hard to see where else I would have ended up!

  • What did you do on your last days off?

I walked on a beach with my wife of 45 years Katrina and loved every minute of both the walk and our marriage!

  • What do you do to relax, to support your wellbeing?

I love to walk, sometimes on my own. A day in the hills is fantastic to forget your daily worries and stress, I try and swim once a week, I love to read and listen to music. Nothing beats being with friends and family though.