Fyne Folk – Ewan MacDonald, Packaging & Warehouse
Welcome to this week’s Fyne Folk, our blog introducing Fyne Ales team members and talking to them about their experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic. We want to introduce you to the folk who make our brewery what it is, and share their stories from lockdown, how they’ve been coping with the new normal and what their hopes are for a post-pandemic brewery and world.
This week we caught up with one of our brewery crew, Ewan, who you’ll usually find in the big brewery washing casks and kegs, filling casks and kegs, or getting casks and kegs ready to go to our trade customer. The lad knows casks and kegs. Ewan is usually a man of few words – convincing him to do one of our Fyne Folk interviews was a bit tricky – so we caught up on how he’s been dealing with more quiet time through Coronavirus furlough and social distancing regulations.
Thinking back to March when the pandemic this kicked off – what are your memories from that time?
I remember before lockdown was announced and there were rumours flying around and it was all kicking off in Europe – it was kind of obvious that we were going to have to close down the brewery, so when Jamie announced the we were all to go home it wasn’t a surprise.
How did you find your time away from the brewery?
The first couple of weeks of furlough were alright – I didn’t mind being at home more, it felt a bit like a holiday, but as time went on every day started to feel the same. I did all the things that everyone else did during lockdown – tried baking, did lots of gardening, spent a lot of time out walking, but it started getting more and more difficult to find ways to fill the days and easier and easier just to watch Netflix.
I live in Strachur, a village further down Loch Fyne, it’s a nice wee village but very quiet. Though I live on my own my brother and my parents all live in the village too, so when the rules were relaxed a bit we were able to meet up in gardens and spend some time together.
You came back to work in late June – how was it coming back?
I was relieved to come back to work – I like working for the brewery, it’s a nice place with nice people and it’s always busy, so I know I’m helping. When I come to work in the morning I like to push myself to see how much I can get done in the day – no matter what needs doing, I want to get as much done as possible.
My first couple of weeks back I was mostly helping organise the online orders, because that meant Malc could spend more time in the brewery. Shredding cardboard isn’t very exciting, but I was still just happy to be back and working.
It must have been good being back with the team again?
Of course, aye. The people are the best bit of working at the brewery – we’re all very close and by the time I was back I think most of the team were already back working so it was a bit of a reunion. We’ve had to change the way we work a bit with the distancing, but we’re all working hard and getting all the beer out to the people who want it.
How are you feeling about the future and potentially living with the pandemic for another six months?
I’m a pretty relaxed guy – whatever happens, happens and I know the brewery will deal with whatever comes our way as best we can. We’ve survived so far and we’ll keep working hard to get through the second wave and whatever new rules they bring in – I’ll keep filling mini-casks as long as people keep buying them!