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Need something? Then make it. That’s Arran MacDonald’s mantra.

Arran at Crisp

Just a few minutes of conversation with him allows you to discover just how much his life is dominated by fixing things.

As the site’s engineer, Arran is responsible for keeping the equipment moving, functioning and safe. When he joined the Portgordon Maltings team in February there was a very short hand-over time for getting to know the plant and the operations.

Since then he’s been on a mission to learn every aspect of the process, the machinery, the tools – and of course the malt itself.



The maltings here is really cool, and the stores are a treasure trove. I’m working my way round, taking things apart to see how they work. Don’t worry – I do put them back together again! This is the way to make sure that if anything breaks down or fails for some reason, I’ll know how to fix it.

Arran MacDonald


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Some people like testing themselves with quizzes—some like endurance challenges. Arran likes a 3D mechanical mystery to solve.

His background set him up for the job at Crisp Malt. He was a mechanical engineer at the James Jones & Sons sawmill, where his role involved maintaining the plant, welding, replacing chains, and fixing conveyor belts. Before that, he was a multi-skilled engineer at Almacit Engineering specializing in metal railings and staircases.

My first job, catering in a hotel, might seem less relevant, but working in a kitchen forces you to get your prioritizing and timing skills down to a fine art. Those are valuable skills to have when mending the kit that the production team needs to get on with their work!



At just 25 years old, Arran owns 14 cars and several motorbikes. Six of the cars, dating from 1970 to 1990, are classified as collector items. The others are post 2000. All of them he bought to take apart, fix, and sell.

He strips them right back to their shells, then rebuilds them with love and care. So much love and care, it seems he can’t let go of them: the selling bit of ‘fix and sell’ constantly gets overlooked!

Arran always loved exploring how things work and had plenty of chances to practice as a child, with encouragement from his dad, who is an engineer. Arran has two children. The oldest one, just four, already knows how to pick out a 10ml spanner from the set of tools in the shed. The next generation of Crisp Malt engineers in the making?


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