Who Is? Morgan Ging, Owner and Managing Director, Ballykeefe Distillery

By Donna Ahern
Who Is? Morgan Ging, Owner and Managing Director, Ballykeefe Distillery

Ballykeefe Distillery is a special place, set in Kilkenny’s picturesque countryside and only 15 minutes from the city centre, the distillery produces its own Gin, Vodka and Poitín, and in 2020 its much anticipated Whiskey will be released. Morgan Ging, owner and managing director, Ballykeefe Distillery, talks to Donna Ahern





How would you describe your role?

I am the team leader of a highly motivated and highly capable team here at Ballykeefe Distillery.

Of course as managing director the buck stops with me whenever there is a problem, but it is the team that are the secret to the success of the business.

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

My first job was a summer job at age 12, as a shop assistant in a hardware store.


It was a fantastic experience in a family business that made customer satisfaction its number one priority, I quickly learned how important it is for a business to have a “will do, can do” attitude and to see everything through the eyes of the customer.

What do you enjoy most about your current job?

There are so many things, but number one has to be meeting so many interesting people from all over the world who come to visit our distillery and enjoy what we are doing here.

They love the fact that they can experience first-hand every part of the spirit making process, on a working family farm, where they also see how committed we are to environmental protection in a practical way with zero off farm waste.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?


I see myself in the same job, but hopefully managing a company that is going from strength to strength.

Our vision is that our award winning, eco friendly spirits are available across the globe. I am also excited about the growth in the tourist component of our business continues.

We recently received a certificate of excellence from Trip Advisor recognising the consistently outstanding traveller ratings that we have received.

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

Keep the customer front and center in all aspects of your business plan.


You must offer something of unique distinction and value to customers in a marketplace that is highly competitive.

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

I can honestly say that I have never had a bad job or a job that I did not like doing.

I know that I am luckier than most people to have avoided a bad job along the way, but as they say better to be born lucky than rich.

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

The government can and should do a lot more.

The first and most important step is to dismantle the needless costly bureaucracy around their efforts to help small businesses.

There are far too many administrative layers and intermediate organisations involved between them and small businesses, with the result that too many hands are taking money from the pot intended to benefit the small business.

The approach of Government should be to ensure that when funding is allocated for helping small business, that all of that money can be traced directly to the small business.

For example instead of the current convoluted incentive scheme for hiring new employees, simplify it though exemption for employers tax and PRSi, for a defined period, this would mean that the business would get the full benefit with no third party costs arising from its administration.

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

There are so many business people that I admire and most of all I admire family run businesses that are thriving from one generation to the next.

In the retail sector, Musgraves and Dunnes stand out as two success that I admire, they have been able to compete with larger international outlets and grow their market share.

An individual that stands out for me is Willie Walsh, I admire what he has achieved, going from a pilot to running Aer Lingus and then when the Government didn’t let him lead a management buyout of the airline, he moved on to run AEG, the biggest airline in the world and of course from there he eventually and some would say inevitably took over Aer Lingus.

What advertising campaign have you most enjoyed in recent months?

I think the Coca Cola Christmas ads are brilliant.

What was your favourite grocery brand when you were growing up, and why?
I grew up in the countryside close to a small village, so our favourite grocery was a family run local store. My favourite brand was HB Ice-cream.

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

President Michael D Higgins, he is a truly exceptional person and political leader.

What is the best piece of advice somebody ever gave to you?

The best advice I ever got was from my father, he said, “Never give up, there are no failures in life only setbacks from which we learn to become better and stronger”.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spare time, I have none at the moment, as I am on the go 18 hours a day, seven days a week, but I love what I am doing, so I am not complaining.

Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?

I do not have personal social media profiles, I of course follow everything that we do on the Ballykeefe Distillery platforms, which are brilliantly managed by my colleague Sinead Boyd.

With which fictional character do you most identify?

My children would say Foghorn Leghorn.

Most likely to say?

Yes, let’s do it.

Least likely to say?

No, we can’t.

© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.

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