Globetrotter: Jeremy Parsons, Berry Brothers

Jeremy Parsons, CEO of the spirits division of drinks merchant Berry Bros & Rudd, finds doing business in Asia leads inexorably to the karaoke bar.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

How many business miles have you clocked up this year?

About 50,000 and I expect it'll be another 40,000 before 2011 ends. That's from going on long-haul flights to the US, still the biggest market for super-premium spirits, and Asia. I predict that's where a lot of our business is going to be.

Favourite hotel?

I've just come back from Taiwan, where the W has recently opened and it's fantastic. It's become a meeting place for all the trendy Taiwanese. For distributors coming into London we recommend Dukes - it's got a wonderful bar.

Favourite distillery?

The Glenrothes malt distillery in Speyside. Berry Brothers has a little house just above it where we have guests to stay. It's not open to the public so it's quite intimate and in one of my favourite spots in Scotland.

Drink of choice?

Gin - either with tonic or a dry martini. I'll have a glass of red wine with food - perhaps a Malbec from Argentina. In flight, I might have a glass of champagne to help me sleep.

Do you take the train?

I sometimes go to the Scottish distillery by train. I don't take trains much abroad, although I once did a branding event for Jaguar which involved taking 200 guests on the Orient Express. That was wonderful.

Favourite place to do business?

Asia's always interesting because of the culture difference. In Japan and Taiwan it's important to build good relationships with those you do business with and that usually involves going to a karaoke bar. I have been known to stand up and take the microphone - you have to.

Worst-ever travel experience?

I was sent to Cyprus on my first ever job in the drinks business. I stayed in a lovely hotel on the beach, but it was very hot so I left my windows open overnight. The next morning I woke up with about 70 mosquito bites on my face and hands. It was my first day in the office and I resembled the Elephant Man - nobody could stop laughing.

Jet lag remedy of choice?

It's still not something I'm used to. I try to get onto local time as soon as I can, make sure I get some sun and go to the gym. A cold spirit is also very refreshing.

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