Q&A With Barry

Barry MacAffer nosing a dram of Laphroaig

Our new Distillery Manager, Barry MacAffer gives us his view from the top.

Barry on… Islay’s distilleries.

There is a huge sense of camaraderie between all the distilleries on Islay. It’s competitive but incredibly supportive. If I need anything I can phone any of the others and they can do the same to me. It’s one big family really. Literally for me, as my brother works at Ardbeg. I definitely tend to overly talk up Laphroaig® when we’re together!

Barry on… the link between whisky and island life.

Whisky is the currency on Islay. We all grew up with it and it’s present at all the big moments…birthdays, weddings, births, funerals. It’s a thank you, a gift, a trade for meat or seafood. It’s woven into everyone’s lives here. I personally never leave the island without a couple of bottles in the car in case I need to gift one as a thank you. In fact, after I broke down recently on my way to Glasgow, I was pleased to be able to give one to the guy who towed me!

View of the island of Islay

Barry on… visiting Islay.

It’s best to come in the winter months. The wet, windy days give the truest sense of Islay. Plus, staying by the fire with a dram of Laphroaig® is so much more magical when it’s lashing down outside. Also, don’t be surprised if it takes a while to get here. Just treat the journey as part of the adventure and embrace any challenges that are thrown your way. It may not be the easiest place to get to but it’s so worth it.

Barry on…his distillery life. 

Before I joined in 2011, I knew people who worked at this distillery and they all talked about the great experience they were having. They weren’t wrong! I loved the team straightaway. Such fantastic work colleagues and the job was great. I was on the malting floor for four years, then transitioned to learn mashing and distilling. Honestly, I always thought the role of Distillery Manger would be out of my reach. Then I asked myself ‘why?’ and tried to work towards it, moved through more departments and here I am.

Distillery Manager Barry MacAffer pouring Laphroaig in a glass

A hand holding a glass of Laphroaig

Barry on…Friends of Laphroaig. 

I think the whisky incites such a passionate following because of its unique flavour and trueness to tradition. Plus, the lovely welcoming smile you receive when you arrive on Islay of course.

Having the community of Friends is invaluable. It’s a direct link between fans and the distillery team, where can tell them what we’re up to and they give us honest feedback. Positive or not, it’s always constructive and comes from a place of passion and good intentions. We’re always true to our past and traditions but the Friends of Laphroaig® are with us on the journey and we embrace all they bring to it.

“Friendship is about recognition, and acknowledgment of a special relationship, FOL cements the relationship between the distillery and our friends.”


Meet the heart of Laphroaig

Without our people, our kilns are just bricks. Our distillery, just an empty building. 

Pamela Ferguson standing in the distillery


Get to know our iconic Islay distillery a little bit better

Explore More
People tasting scotch at the Laphroaig distillery

If you’re a fan of Laphroaig you’re a Friend of ours

Join to start unlocking special releases, ‘Friends only’ sweepstakes and even own your own plot on Islay.

People enjoying a glass of Laphroaig Cairdeas