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Who Is?... Aidan Mehigan, Founder & CEO of Gortinore Distillers & Co

By Maev Martin
Who Is?... Aidan Mehigan, Founder & CEO of Gortinore Distillers & Co

Donna Ahern talks to Aidan Mehigan, founder & CEO of Gortinore Distillers & Co

How would you describe your role?

Co-ordinator of a strong team. Sales person.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

Stacking shelves in Roches Stores. I learned that everyone there could teach me something. Warehouse Steve taught me not to put my hand in the cardboard compactor, which was a valuable lesson.

What do you enjoy most about your current job?

I am supposed to say the varied role, or the people, and that is true. But it is more than that. I love that we (the team) are building something really great. Everyone on the team is net positive to a bigger project and I love that.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Still at Gortinore, buying Irish Distillers from Pernod Ricard.

What is your advice to people starting out in the industry?

Do it. Don’t hesitate. There are queues of people who say ‘It’s a tough market,’ ‘It’s a business for your grandchildren’ and other nonsensical, passive-aggressive critiques.

It is a brilliant business. Yes it is hard.

Yes it is expensive, but it is also great fun. It is even more fun if you do something different within the space.

What was your worst job, and what was so bad about it?

My worst job was with my cousin and co-founder of Gortinore, Lisa, back in 1998. We were reps for Esat Digiphone. The people we worked with were medium at best, but what was bad about it was that I got sacked for driving the Jeep on a provisional license. Not the job’s fault per se, but it was not a good time.

What do you think the government could do to help business in the current climate?

The best think that the government could do is sort out the health service so that it is not at risk of crumbling on a daily basis. That way we could all get back to work, but they don’t seem interested in doing that.

What three business people do you most admire, and why?

Aíne Denn, founder of Altify. Aíne built an incredible business at Altify but, more than that, she has an ability to cut through the business bullshit that is inspiring. She also taught me a very clear lesson about the necessity of horses for courses in building a successful business.

Frank Keane, owner of Frank Keane Motors. Frank’s ability to see value in a transaction is amazing. His story around BMW is one of swashbuckling entrepreneurial legend.

Joe Elias, founder of Retail In Motion. Joe built a super business at RIM. Truly global in scale. He also taught me a very valuable lesson about the importance of cash.

What advertising campaign have you most enjoyed in recent months?

Nothing springs to mind in recent months, but the Old Spice advertisement with the guy on the horse is the best ad ever made.


Who would come to your ideal dinner party (living or dead)?

Meredith Hunter, Mikhail Bulgakov, Elizabeth Holmes, Faye Leggett, Roscoe Conkling, Lady Waterford (1850s), General Romeo Dallaire, Marco Pantani.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

When you are going through hell, keep on trucking. They were paraphrasing.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Family fun – walking, cycling, messing around. Also, I spend a lot of my spare time planning, laughing and shaking my head.

How much time do you spend on social media in an average week?

1 hour 32 minutes this week, according to the Apple.

Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?


What is on your player at the moment?

Prisencolinensinainciusol by Adriano Celentano. Go and have a listen – it’s just great.

With which fictional character do you most identify?

Indiana Jones in The Temple of Doom. Not the other ones.

Least likely to say?

We shouldn’t have done that.

© 2020 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout. 


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