Next up in the #rumfamily series is an interview with Foursquare Global brand ambassador Gayle Seale. Gayle is one of the most positive people I know. Her enthusiasm is contagious and she is a true ambassador for Rum. Always so giving of her time Gayle is true #rumfamily!
Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself and how long have you been a global brand ambassador?
I’ve been a global brand ambassador at Foursquare Rum distillery for about 12 years now. It started when I was travelling with Richard to rum shows and we were starting to build friendships with bartenders around the world. Unlike most brand ambassadors I did not start off as a bartender. I married into a rum family. I was born in Scotland and I grew up in Toronto, Canada. I have a Montessori teaching diploma, a photography and digital imaging degree and a photojournalism degree. I met Richard when I was in Barbados for work. At that time, Richard was an accountant and doing his ACCA exams and I was working in sports promotion business. Rum was a part of their family business as they were independent bottlers. Things changed in 1996 when we started the distillery and took the step to stop being independent bottlers and producing our own rum. It was a few years after this change that I took on the global ambassadors role when our kids where in high school. I am lucky that I get to use my teaching skills and my photography skills as part of ambassador life. Having a background in photojournalism also making running our social media campaigns easier too. I’m enjoying this job so much it doesn’t really feel like work.
For those that don’t know, please tell us a little about the brands you represent?
I am lucky to represent such a great distillery and so many different brands.
R. L. Seale
John D Taylor Falernum
Foursquare Exceptional Cask series
and our local brands
ESA Field and Old Brigand
As well as Probitas/Veritas a partnership we have with Hampden.
I also quite often talk about The Real McCoy, Velier and Equiano as they are distillery partnerships we have.
How is the current Covd-19 pandemic impacting on you and your brand? Are you adapting to keep getting your brand message out?
At first the shut the distillery and banned the sale of alcohol on the island. It was a little strange and drinking rum is part of the culture of our island. Things are back up and running now and rum is being aged again. They also have allowed the sale of rum locally again. We have adapted for the new normal and we are doing a lot of Zoom – Zavvy – Instagram and Facebook live events around the world. Trying to have educational seminars and private rum club and group events. Being accessible is getting easier and I’m having fun keeping in touch with the rum family this was as well. We have a global rum group pop in online zoom chat every Friday from 2 pm est till midnight approx organized by one of our awesome rum family members. People pop in and out all the time.
Under normal circumstances, what is the best thing about being a global brand ambassador?
The friendships I have made around the world. It’s like having a huge family of little brother and sisters and cousins. I miss all my rum family
Is there anything you find hard about being a global brand ambassador?
Life on the road can be very tiring going through time zones. I always find returning from the Far East takes a few days to get back into local time. Living out of a suitcase and always carrying enough clothes but not too much can be a challenge. Travelling with bottles can get heavy too. Eating out every night can be hard too. It can be hard to eat healthy every day on the road in airports and airplanes but it can be done. I miss my dogs.
What advice would you give to someone looking for a career in the industry?
I would say the most important thing is to be true to yourself. Be honest in what you are teaching. Learn as much as you can. Education and research are so important. Never stop learning. Always smile. Stay humble. Be professional
Can you recommend some bars to enjoy your Rums in?
I am very lucky to get to spend time in some of the best bars in the world. I spend a lot of time in London and some of my favourite bars in UK are ( I know I am missing loads and that is making me feel terrible)
The Pig Hotel
The Liars club
How do you feel the drinks/bar industry is changing in regards to Rum?
I am noticing people are looking for higher strength rums and more authenticity. I see a lot of the old classic cocktails coming back and that is a good thing. Locally in Barbados there is a lot more education happening on the world of rum. The TopShelf bartending academy in Barbados has opened and they have a few classes dedicated to rum and the history of rum. It is important for our local bartenders to be knowledgeable. We are known as the home of rum and rum cocktails are a mainstay of our bar culture, but I believe some of these have been lost over the years. Now local bartenders know about the corn’n’oil and the green swizzle.
Is there anything exciting on the horizon we should look out for?
There are always new rums aging away in the warehouses at Foursquare. I would say to keep an eye out for some new rum family collaborations. We have also installed solar panels on the roofs of our distribution offices next beside some of the again warehouses. This makes me so happy. We are not entirely green but we are happy to have solar energy. Also our new cane crushing plant is very cool. We also have a new pot still being fabricated now.
What is your drink of choice using your brand?
The Gayle Seale Daiquiri is my favourite cocktail using Doorly’s XO and John D Taylor Falernum.