Skip to main content
Member SpotlightNews

Member Spotlight: Matthew Algie

Jill Wotherspoon, Head of Marketing.

Matthew Algie


Matthew Algie was founded in 1864 on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow. We were originally a tea merchant but made the transition to coffee and never looked back.  We introduced the UK’s first Fairtrade espresso; the world’s first triple certified coffee and we were the first roaster in the world to achieve the Carbon Neutral International standard. More recently, we were showcased at COP26 (where our coffee was also served) as an example of sustainability best practice.

I started out as a marketing contractor, helping with events, publications and websites, before being invited to join the team full-time as Assistant Brand Manager.  Nine years later I am delighted to be Head of Marketing, overseeing an ever-growing collection of amazing coffee brands with a talented team of nine marketers.

What are you working on at the moment?

Climate positive coffee

BCA QuoteThere’s certainly plenty happening, perhaps the most exciting of which is our climate positive coffee, Peak & Wild, which launched just last week. Over the next three years, working with the conservation charity the John Muir Trust, we’ll be preserving over 1,000 hectares of Scottish Rainforest and helping 2,500 young people achieve their John Muir Award. My colleagues and I will soon be visiting the rainforest for both a training and volunteering session and to plan some exciting new initiatives that will be revealed later in the year. When we first set out to find a charitable partner for our new coffee brand, I never realised where it would end up taking us. Finding out about the Scottish rainforest has united and engaged everybody within our business and will hopefully now have the same impact in the outside world. Our network of café customers is a great opportunity to raise awareness and additional funding.

What’s a day in the life like at Matthew Algie?

No two days are ever the same and time flies. I think that’s a good thing as I can’t imagine ever being bored in my job. On a recent day in the roastery, I attended an NPD tasting in the lab, held interviews for new positions, signed off on some new coffee packaging, proof-read a catalogue, chased down some e-zine content, submitted creative briefs to the design team, met remotely with team members, secured print quotes for new POS, updated project plans, and read a LOT of emails. We’re lucky to have flexible working conditions, so I tend to stay at home on days packed with Teams calls or copy deadlines and head to the roastery when there’s a chance to see people in person or to sample a new product. The best days are when we all get together as a team for creative planning sessions, or if we head out on the road to an event, customer visit, or market research tour.

What are the main issues/priorities?

COVID has clearly had a major impact on our industry and the effects continue to be felt by many of our customers.  Despite everything, we see new businesses opening all the time, many of whom come to us for support. We are also working on plenty of exciting new initiatives and growth projects with existing customers. It’s incredible to see what so many hospitality businesses have achieved against the odds. Our main objectives in the marketing team are to help win new business and to support our existing customer base with their own plans. As part of that, we must understand the market, listen to customers, stay innovative and create engaging brands and offers. I’m lucky to be part of a brilliant team who are full of ideas and energy, who just get out there and give it their all.

What’s the biggest success story so far?

During the first lockdown we took the opportunity to completely rebrand and refocus Matthew Algie. With the help of our own graphic designer, we did the whole thing in-house and it has really served us well. As part of the brand refresh, we overhauled our website and digital strategy and as a result, we were rewarded with a dramatic increase in enquiries, which continues to keep us busy today.

How long have you been a member of BCA and why did you decide to join?

As a member of BCA for more than a decade, it provides us with an invaluable forum for pre-competitive collaboration on key issues impacting the coffee industry and coffee consumers.

What, if any, BCA committee(s) are you part of?

My colleagues contribute to Technical and Sustainability committees.

What’s the best/most useful thing about being a member of the BCA?

For many of us, enjoying a great cup of coffee sits at the heart of our daily lives. But behind that cup of coffee is a farm-to-cup international supply, interwoven with complex trade, legislative and sustainability agendas. BCA helps us to understand these issues and have a voice at the table as we develop our business in a responsible manner.

What do you love most about the coffee industry?

Quite simply, coffee!  It’s emotive, inclusive, creative, and experiential. Who wouldn’t love limitless access to amazing fresh coffee in their office every day? Or full permission to get out there and tour the coffee shop scene as part of your job? One of the greatest pleasures in life is finding new coffee shops and enjoying them with friends and family. I love that café culture has developed so much in recent years and I am excited to see where it goes next.

Who or what inspires you?

Eduarda Cristovam, Head of Coffee

I am in awe of many people.  Within our own business for example, our Head of Coffee, Eduarda Cristovam, has such amazing sensory perception. She can describe coffee in ways that blow my mind.  She sees shapes, colours and music at every cupping. It’s always fun to be part of.

More broadly, I love writing about successful coffee shop owners in our e-zine, the Coffee Extract. Hearing their stories about how they got started, the challenges they’ve faced and the difference they’ve made to their local communities is hugely inspiring. The team at Kaya in Horsham for example, have created an amazing café destination and social hub for their community that just goes from strength to strength.  In Glasgow, Sean and Meghan at Absolute Roasters have catapulted themselves from a humble nitro coffee van launched during the pandemic to a bar and restaurant in the prestigious West End. Behind every coffee shop success story I write about, there are amazing individuals with vision, determination, creativity and a relentless passion for what they do. I could talk about them all day.

Farmers from long-standing supplier, San Juan del Oro, Peru

And how could I talk about inspiration without mentioning coffee farmers, who face vast and varied challenges every day. We know that our producers feel the effects of climate change more acutely than most and hearing their updates and compiling case studies really brings it home. That’s why we have signed up to the Fairtrade Climate Pledge, committing ourselves to key actions in support of farmers and workers.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to enter your field?

Jill with daughter Emily

Don’t hesitate. Coffee is a great industry and marketing is a fantastic career choice. No two days are ever the same. Your skills are stretched in all directions. One minute you’ll be overseeing the creatives for a new brand launch, the next you’ll be attending a tasting to determine the seasonal drinks choices. You are constantly challenged, and you will never finish a to-do list, but you’ll see the benefit of your hard work in so many ways.

It’s a competitive field so building experience is key. Whether you specialise in a specific field such as digital marketing or become a marketing generalist like me, it’s so important to get as much hands on experience as possible, with a variety of projects. Build evidence of your abilities (impressive metrics and concise bullet points are better than paragraphs of content in any CV or application) and be sure to have an engaging online profile.



Our thanks to Jill Wotherspoon of Matthew Algie for answering our questions.