Me & My Money: ‘I like to save for experiences rather than for material objects’

Darryl McNally, master distiller at Dublin Liberties Distillery

Are you a saver or a spender?

In my personal life I’m not afraid of spending a little, but I’m a good saver at the same time. Right now, however, I’m a spender as I’m building a distillery in the heart of Dublin.

Do you shop around for better value?

Yes, I’ll always shop around, and it has become much easier over the last number of years. Having said that, quality is the key factor that determines most of my purchases of note. I’m fine paying a little more for better quality.


What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?

I’m partial to buying expensive bottles of whiskey and love to try superpremium whiskeys from across the world. I justify it to myself as being part of the job! I do a lot of travelling from one end of the country to the other, so I just bought a new car recently that cost more than I wanted to pay. In my day-to-day life I’m not an extravagant spender.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?

I built my house on my father’s farm. While the site was free, there was a lot involved in managing the build and keeping the spend lower than if I had bought it as a turnkey home from a contractor.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

I think it’s important to shop local as much as possible. And even then, I try, insofar as is feasible, to check the source of the product. While our borderless global economy brings endless benefits to many, there are countless more who get left behind. I think there’s an onus on us all to help support our local communities and our neighbourhood economies to one degree or another.

Do you haggle over prices?

All the time. It embarrasses my wife! It’s usually not about the money, though, but the back-and-forth. I love the psychology of it all. Consumer behaviour fascinates me.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

Yes, absolutely. Our generation has seen good times, but has also witnessed how easily and quickly everything changed. It was literally an overnight transformation in spending habits. It makes you think more about what you’re spending, and it will always be a reminder of the importance of looking to the future and not taking things for granted.

Do you invest in shares?

Yes, just like good whiskey there’s nothing like an investment that matures perfectly over time.

Cash or card?

Mostly card, because it’s so handy, even for small items, but I always carry some cash in euro and sterling whether I’m in Derry, Dublin or London.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?

I bought a pair of shoes last week. They were €90 and so far they’re hardwearing and comfortable. When you’re wearing something almost every day, I think it makes sense to go for quality and comfort.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?

Our annual family holiday is always a relatively big purchase, so that’s a seemingly continuous and ongoing saving. I like to save for experiences rather than for material objects. Ultimately, it’s the memories that will be more valuable.

Have you ever lost money?

No big losses yet. I tend to check for phone, keys and wallet whenever I leave a place.

Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?

On big horse-racing days I’ll occasionally place a bet. I put some money on Tiger Roll in the Grand National recently – after a photo-finish I won £188!

Is money important to you?

Money is important to me to the extent that it’s essential to provide for your family, and for their security and welfare into the future. We spend so much of our lives working to earn money, so I feel blessed to be working as a master distiller. Being paid to make whiskey will always be a thrill for me.

How much money do you have on you now?

I have a €50 note and two £20 notes in my wallet.

in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea