Bessie Williamson arrived on Islay during the summer of 1934 and heard of a post available at the Laphroaig® distillery for a shorthand typist. Shortly after securing the job, her hard-working nature led her to become office manager. When Ian Hunter, the distillery manager, became ill, he placed the seal of ultimate trust in her hands and she assumed control of the distillery, his family business that had existed since the early 19th century.
It was under Bessie’s direction that the Laphroaig® distillery saw marked upgrading and success overseas, allowing the whisky to be enjoyed to this day. Thanks to her strong business acumen, she was also appointed ambassador to North America by the Scotch Whisky Association.