Scotland Episodes

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Episode 70 - Oliver Wyss, President of Soccer at Orange County Soccer Club

In a special crossover episode we combine United States of Dramerica and America the Beautiful Game. We talk to whisky lover and soccer expert Oliver Wyss. The former Swiss international youth player, coach, agent and soccer tech is now the President of Soccer at Orange County Soccer Club in the United Soccer League. We talk about the controversial new European Super League, his love of wine and then whisky and the state of soccer in the United States. Oliver tells us about working on Playing for Keeps with Gerard Butler, being sold expensive whisky at Glasgow airport and how much he enjoys work Orange County's partner club Glasgow Rangers. He talks about the transformation of US soccer, its continued shortcomings but also how they might win a World Cup in 2030. And why he wants to share a Bruichladdich Black Art with Michael Jordan.

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Episode 64 - Chris Newlands, founder of Spelfie, the space selfie company

We talk to Scottish entrepreneur Chris Newlands, founder of space selfie company Spelfie. The navy veteran explains the genesis of his company, why he thinks people will want to take space selfies at live events and how clouds are Spelfie's enemy. He talks through the challenges of launching a start up in a global pandemic, the ways his company has adapted and his plans for expansion. Chris talks about his partnership with Airbus, selling space visible advertising and why he wants to share a Macallan with Barack Obama on the beach in Barbados.

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Episode 63 - Gary Gillan, President of North American Rangers Supporters Association

We talk to Gary Gillan, the president of NARSA - the North American Rangers Supporters Association. He talks about his beloved club Rangers, how being further afield brings you closer to the club and the origins of NARSA. He talks about the sense of community that these fan groups create, how tough it has been during Covid and he feels closer to the club in Canada even though he used to have a season ticket. Gary tells us about the excitement around Rangers' season, what it will mean to win the league again after a ten year gap and reminds us all that Rangers are the most successful domestic team in global soccer. He explains the rivalry with Celtic, where Rangers would fit in the English game and the importance of European competition. And why he wants to share a whisky with the Beatles.

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Episode 62 - Ricky Crawford, luxury travel expert and Dram Good Laddie

We talk to veteran whisky and luxury travel expert Ricky Crawford. He tells us about the growing importance of sustainable travel, how it's going to become more important post-pandemic and the genesis of his Amazon Prime show Leave No Trace. We talk about green luxury travel in Scotland, the purity of distilleries and his time as a roving whisky ambassador - including a disappointing trip to the Playboy Mansion. Ricky tells us about his new virtual Scottish corporate tour company - where he is one of the three Dram Good Laddies, what he misses about drinking whisky with friends and his love for the Maldives. And he tells us why he wants to drink a Glenlivet with George Clooney.

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Episode 58 - David Balfour, co-founder of LIGHTBLUE and marketing and event expert

We talk to event and marketing expert David Balfour. The Scot living in Dubai with plans to expand in to the US talks events, how the pandemic has changed the industry, what is possible now and what direction he thinks events will go in the future. He tells us how the uneven pace of recovery is creating opportunities, the huge appetite to return to live experiences and how Usher nearly ruined one of his first events in the US. David tells us about his favorite whisky, his sneaker collection and the appeal of life in Los Angeles. And why he wants to share a Wolfcraig whisky with Sir Alex Freguson.

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Episode 57 - Estelle McCartney, Chief Customer Officer Arctic Shores and communications professional

We talk to Estelle McCartney, Chief Customer Officer for Arctic Shores and veteran communications professional. She tells us about how the interface between business and Government has changed, the importance of ‘doing good’ and her first role with Britain in Europe. She talks about her work with Arctic Shores, using technology in recruitment to improve diversity and getting people into the right jobs for the long term. She also talks about watching her father compete in the Whisky Olympics, we debate how to pronounce Glenmorangie and she tells the story of pioneer Gertrude Bell.

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Episode 54 - David Mackay, Virgin Galactic Chief Pilot

We talk to David Mackay, the Chief Pilot for Virgin Galactic. He tells us his journey from a young boy in northern Scotland watching the moon landing on television to his own flight into space. David, who has more than 15k flying hours, talks about testing aircraft for the British Royal Air Force, his transition to commercial airliners for Virgin Atlantic and then his move to flying spacecraft for Virgin Galactic. He describes the simple joy of his first ever flight, the beautiful vistas he has captured from the cockpit of planes around the world and the thrill of flying into space and the unique experience and view. David talks through what a Virgin Galactic astronaut will experience, the types of passengers who have signed up for space travel and why he enjoys a post-flight Clynelish. And he tells us why he wants to share a whisky with Neil Armstrong.

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Episode 53 - James Keston, owner of Orange County Soccer Club.

We talk to James Keston, owner of Orange County Soccer Club. He explains why he bought a USL team, what he is hoping to achieve on and off the field and how hard the pandemic has hit live sport. James talks about the unique partnership with Glasgow Rangers, the CBS documentary about their deal and why all the Scottish players needed subtitles. He tells us that he doesn’t think a promotion and relegation system will happen in US soccer in the next 30 years, the importance of giving American youngsters a pathway to pro that avoids college and how close he came to owning an MLS team. And why he wants to share a highland whisky in a European pub with Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin.

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Episode 51 - Steve Lipp, whisky entrepreneur

We talk to whisky entrepreneur Steve Lipp, the man behind everything from Alexander Murray, to Costco's Kirkland whisky and also banana flavor bourbon sensation Howler Head. He tells us about how near-death experiences took him from the oil business to the whisky trade, why he named his brand after his great uncle and how a drowning fisherman helped Lagavulin 16 become his favorite whisky. He talks about banana bourbon - and his partnership with UFC owner Dana White, his beer/whisky partnership with Firestone Walker and what next for Costco whiskys. And why he wants to share a Lagavulin 16 with Sean Connery at the Pittodrie House Hotel.

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Episode 50 - John Sipher, ex-CIA operative

For our 50th episode of the podcast, we have ex-CIA operative John Sipher. In a powerful and damning interview he talks about the damage being done to the Intelligence Community by the current administration, the risks to America from a delayed transition and his anger at the current relationship with Russia. He talks about how the pandemic will change intelligence gathering, the complications those currently serving face doing their jobs and how dangerous the politicization of intelligence work can be. John also explains how his company Spycraft Entertainment bridges the intelligence services and Hollywood, which shows are the most realistic (very few of them!) and how much material there is to work with at the moment. He also talks about scotch and espionage, taking a Russian defector to Scottish distilleries and why he wants to share a Lagavulin with Winston Churchill.

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Episode 45 - Ruaridh Jackson, ex-rugby player and Glenturret whisky

We talk to former Glasgow Warrior and Scotland rugby player Ruiradh Jackson. We talk about retiring early due to Covid and transitioning to a career in whisky and gin. He tells us about the re-launch of Glenturret, Scotland's oldest working distillery, describes his frustration at the recent closures of the Scottish hospitality industry and the importance of alcohol for a winter in Scotland. Ruaridh describes the highs and lows of his rugby career, mental health in sport and learning to drink whisky to unwind after games. He tells us about his Garden Shed Gin business, ignoring criticism on Twitter and why he wants to share a Balvenie 14 with Bob Marley on a Scottish beach.

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Episode 42 - David Laird, luxury whisky specialist

We talk to David Laird, newly appointed Luxury Portfolio Specialist for William Grant. He explains why people spend thousands on good whisky, why sales are up so much during the pandemic and why even the most expensive whisky is made to be drunk. Over Balvenie and Glenfiddich 21 we discuss high-end whisky packaging, a $1k cocktail and the importance of drinking the best whiskys sitting down and with as few other people as possible. He also talks about running a bar in Memphis, his brief professional soccer career and wanting to share a dram with his family.

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Episode 41 - Alastair Boase, co-owner of MacLeod Brewery

We talk to a Californian brewery owner about how pizza saved his business, running a bar during Covid and why a Scottish landscaper started selling English-style beer in Los Angeles. He tells us about how he protects his customers, why he doesn’t worry about their health and keeping inebriated people socially distanced. And how he wishes he could sell whisky alongside beer. He also tells us why he wants to drink an Oban with Sean Connery.

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Episode 9 - Ben Smith

We talk to Laduma CEO Ben Smith about immersive technology, where Sean Connery hides his whisky and arguing with Jose Mourinho.