Welcome to the Fyne Ales blog—here you’ll find the latest insight into what’s going on with the Fyne Ales team in the brewery, on the farm or on the road.

Fyne Folk – Reece McColl, 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.

In one of our final Fyne Folk, we sat down with member of our Packaging & Warehouse team, Reece! Reece is the baby of the brewery, having only just turned 18 this year, and he’s one half of a father-and-son duo within the Fyne Ales team – his dad Stewart runs our Brewery Tap (read his Fyne Folk here) – we caught up with him to find out how 2020 has messed up his birthday plans, kept him from his girlfriend and given him an online shopping addiction.


How has your 2020 been?
Very boring. I don’t know, it started off pretty good and I had big plans for this year, including celebrating my 18th birthday, but obviously that didn’t happen. Nothing’s happened really – just sitting at home and spending too much money shopping online.

What did you have planned for the year then?
I had hoped to get my driving license at the start of the year and then the plan for the summer was to drive down to Manchester with some friends to see Liam Gallagher, and then nine of us were supposed going to Berlin after that which would have been good – that would’ve been my first proper holiday since I was about three. It’s not been great, really.

I guess the restrictions made it difficult to have driving lessons, being in close space with the instructor?
The first thing was getting my theory test – I had it booked three times and it got canceled due to the changes in the guidelines every time. Eventually I passed that and was able to get out with the instructor and with my dad a few times. He was a good teacher, maybe got a bit frustrated with me at times, but overall he was good and it paid off as I passed my practical test first time.

No Manchester, no Berlin – what did you get up to this year?
Honestly, not very much. When it all started and we were at home I did too much online shopping – first it was trainers, then clothes for a little bit, then just random stuff. I think it was a way of passing the time – you’re inside, all day, eating rubbish, playing FIFA and you’d see something you wanted online and buy it for that endorphin rush, which is fine until you get to the end of the month and see how little money you’ve got left before payday.

If I’d thought about it, I probably should have saved up for car stuff – the insurance and MOT have both been extortionate.

You haven’t thought about selling your trainers yet, though?
I’ve thought about it a few times – I got a pair of YEEZYs which were the most expensive thing I bought. I’ve worn them a few times and every time they’ve gotten so dirty, and then I’ve had to spend so long cleaning them that I don’t really want to wear them again.

I didn’t wear them for a month after I bought them, and then the first time I did, I dropped a chip on them and got ketchup up the side of them and that was a nightmare to get out. So now they’re just sitting there, so they’d probably be the first thing if I did sell anything.

How’s family and home life been during the pandemic?
I live with my dad, his partner Kirsty and my younger brother Damian plus the three dogs. When they announced the lockdown I kind of expected that it was going to be a nightmare – loads of stress and arguments, but it was alright. I can’t think of a single proper argument we had – everyone was pretty easygoing.

My girlfriend lives in Dunoon, so at the very start we didn’t see each other for a little while which wasn’t fun – it felt like a lot longer than two months apart to be honest, but when the rules changed we were able to go out for walks and spend a bit of time together again.

How have you coped with work and furlough, being away, coming back and now somewhere in between?
It’s not been too bad – I quite enjoyed time off at the start, but when we came back in the summer I definitely felt it; it was draining and I was getting tired more quickly because I hadn’t been working every day.

It is nice to be back and see everyone, I did miss it when I wasn’t here. It’s a little bit awkward, only finding out each week if you’re working, or what days you’re working, but to be honest with things the way they are and things being so difficult for the brewery, I’m grateful there’s still work to do when I’m needed.

We’re nearing the end of the year – how are you feeling about Christmas and beyond?
It’s going to be a weird one – I’d usually spend one year with my mum and the next with my dad but my brother stays on the Isle of Skye and he’s invited me up there for Christmas, which will be good if I’m allowed to travel.

As for next year, I hope things get back to normal a bit more – I’ve already booked tickets for a festival down in England next summer and want to try and get down to watch Scotland vs England at the Euros – hopefully we can get tickets. I’m feeling confident that the vaccines will help get things back to normal by then – there’s lots of good news coming out about them so it feels like we should be sorted by the spring.

We normally ask folk what they were drinking in lockdown, but given you only turned 18 in May, I’m not sure it’s an appropriate question…
Haha, well, I didn’t drink much really – drinking’s not as exciting when you do it legally! Everyone used to joke with me that I work in a brewery but can’t legally drink the beer we make, so we had some mini-kegs of Fyne Lager in the house of the summer that me and my dad shared – that’s my favourite of our beers.


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