The Business of Spirits – The Gin Guild Edition

Continuing the Livery’s successful programme of outreach and education, a team of Liverymen led by Past Master Martin Riley recently delivered The Business of Spirits course to a group from the Gin Guild.

This course brings together industry experts from within the Livery to share their experience and knowledge with groups of students and, with this session of the course, industry professionals. Business Development Director Clive Bairsto kept things on track during the day, joined by Martin Riley, Liveryman Steve Wilson, Past Master Richard Watling, Upper Warden Nick Carr, Vocational Training and Education Committee Chair Chris Pitcher, Liveryman Abhi Banik and the Master to present a wide ranging day of presentation and discussion.

The day started with an introduction to the Livery from the Master, before diving into the course proper. With sessions touching on innovation, pricing, categorisation, industry trends, production and more, the group of more than 30 members of the Gin Guild were led through a wide range of topics. Unlike previous occasions when the course has been delivered, where most of the attendees were students, this group had much wider range of experience of working in the drinks industry, with start-up owners joined by established producers and others from throughout the world of hospitality, marketing, journalism and gin production. This led to in-depth questioning and a lively and informative Q&A panel to close out the day, with topics including pricing models, the evolution of market segmentation, brand differentiation and how important social media might be. If it wasn’t for the Gin Guild dinner happening that evening, the Q&A would have run on significantly longer.

Speaking with some of the attendees after the session, feedback was very positive:

“That was one of the most empowering and educational days I can remember having in a very long time.”

“It was a great day yesterday, so many great anecdotes and speakers.”

“There was context, a little bit of theory, worked examples, real life experience, storytelling and useful take homes.”

“The connectivity of every single topic created a great narrative that ran through the day.”

“There was just so much experience in the room, and the fact that they all wanted to share it was just great.”

“It was fantastic to be in a room with this kind of audience – everyone had a level of understanding as well as an eagerness and passion that meant we were all on the same page.”

The Vocational Training and Education Committee would like to extend its thanks to Richard Harding and the team at the WSET School in Bermondsey for providing us with the space for the day, and to the Gin Guild for so enthusiastically taking part.

The Business of Spirits continues to develop, with new speakers and topics being introduced and planned for the future. The team is looking forward to the next session, presenting the course to students from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling later in the year.