Welcome to the first instalment of The Latch’s new serial, The Dream Job. From professional gin tasters to travel writers, these people are paid to do what they love, and want to help others achieve their own dream gigs by sharing advice alongside a day-in-the-life.
Probably my favourite spirit, I love gin for its all-occasion versatility and refreshing, botanical taste. A big fan, I’m known for seeking out gin cocktails on a bar’s menu first, and I’ll quite happily fork out a small fortune on bottles from small-scale distilleries. All so I can sample new tipples and experiment with my own mixology attempts at home.
Never did I imagine, however, that someone could get paid to do exactly this, and so when I crossed paths with Tim Laferla, Gin Loot‘s brand manager, I naturally had a lot of questions.
Below, we pick Laferla’s brain to find out exactly what it is he does, and discover his best advice for anyone else looking to become a gin-ius like him.
Who are you and what is your role with Gin Loot?
My name is Tim Laferla, and I’m the Gin Specialist here at Gin Loot — essentially a professional gin drinker. Gin Loot is a gin subscription brand that curates a beautifully themed box of gins every month, giving gin enthusiasts a chance to try something they wouldn’t usually come across in the shops whilst also sharing tasting notes and information on the history of gin at the same time.
My role entails sourcing hundreds of gins, building relationships with the distilleries, and, researching, writing and recording content. Could you ask for a more fun job?!
What does a day-in-the-work-life look like for you?
I usually get into work at around 9am. Then I check to see if any samples arrived; I like to taste them all straight up (no mixers, ice or garnishes) at 9:30am while checking my emails. Sounds pretty brutal, but my palate is at its best first thing in the morning.
After that, I’ll write some content, tasting notes, articles or scripts for videos that will go across Gin Loot’s channels. In the afternoon I’ll work on designing some new products, picking gins and themes for any special occasion coming up, or just new fun boxes for our subscribers and the website. Then late in the afternoon, I’ll work with our videographer on recording video content or taking photos for social media and other digital platforms.
What is the best part of your job?
Drinking loads of gin, obviously. (In a very responsible way, of course.)
What is the not-so-glamourous part of your job?
Waking up at 6 am to get to the gym in the morning to burn off all those gin-calories.
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How do you believe you got to this point in your career?
I started my booze-fuelled career in hospitality from the day I turned 18. After attempting three separate university degrees, I just loved everything there was to learn about liquor and cocktails, so I just fell into it for the next 12 years.
As time went on, I realised that it was the liquids that I was most in love with, so I started looking to get into the gin game full time, and here I am. Many people think of hospitality as “not-a-real-job” but there are so many ways you can take it as a career.
I learnt so much from it that I still apply in my job today, from a business sense, and loved every minute of it. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for that foundation.
What advice do you have for someone who might like to follow in your footsteps?
Loving gin is one thing, but you need to build your knowledge of how it’s made, all the intricacies, and start building relationships within the industry. My advice would be to go to every single brand tasting session you can, connect with distillers and brand ambassadors to learn and open those doors. A little bit of marketing exposure/experience helps as well.
What’s next for you?
Taking over the gin world with Gin Loot, expanding into other categories — such as rum, tequila — the possibilities are endless. Maybe I’ll even create my own brand of gin as well!