The Wardens

The Upper Warden
Chris Porter

A Liveryman since 2000, Chris has worked with wines & spirits virtually all his professional life. Starting at wine merchants Rawlings Voigt & Co in 1979, Chris then joined the family firm, wine and spirits shipping specialists Porter & Laker, in 1984. Having developed strong national sales and client growth, Chris became it’s Sales Director in 1987. Following the acquisition of the family firm by Ferry Freighting Ltd in 1991 and a subsequent merger with Hillebrand in 2005, he became a director of the newly formed parent company J F Hillebrand UK Ltd, where he remained running the Porter & Laker Division as a specialist service to the UK drinks trade until 2017.

Chris was Chairman of The Benevolent (now The Drinks Trust) in 2013 and 2014 and in January 2018 was appointed it’s CEO. Having retired from this role in 2019, he set up his own consultancy and is currently working developing business for specialist drinks logistics provider Kukla UK.  

Chris was previously President of the Wine Trade Sports Club in 1992 and Chairman of the Wine & Spirit Trade Club (formerly Under 40 Club) in 1990. He’s a lover of fine wines and spirits, real ales, and terrible jokes, plays golf at Tandridge Golf Club and is a life-long supporter of Crystal Palace FC.

The Middle Warden
Chris searle

After achieving a Chemistry degree at Kings College London, and discovering the delights of marketing, in 1977 he joined International Distillers and Vintners as a brand manager, which was to span a 37-year career in the drinks marketing industry. An ambition to be a Marketing Director was realised in 1982 when he joined United Rum Merchant’s, a branded agency business that became part of Allied Domecq . In 1986, a chance encounter with some delightful Italians resulted in being appointed as UK Marketing Director of Martini and Rossi. Following the subsequent takeover by Bacardi and acquisition of Teltscher Brothers Limited, (now William Grant & Sons UK), he was appointed Managing Director and with it, the opportunity of attracting a number of famous brands into the business creating First Drinks Brands which he co-chaired for 10 years. Roles in Europe and then Global followed a 28-year period working for Bacardi. Highlights were many and included the responsibility for Martini Racing WRC  the setting up of Bacardi’s CSR programme and reporting and the creation of Champions Drink Responsibly.

He has been fortunate to have been involved in a number of different industry positions including Chairman of the Benevolent Society (1997), Chairman of Wine and Spirits Trade Association (1999-2001), Chairman of the Portman Group (2006), Vice President of spiritsEurope (2003-2004) and Vice President of Incorporated Society of British Advertisers. He is married to Sue and have 2 children, Samantha and Alexander.

The Renter Warden
lorne mackillop

After graduating from London University in 1977, Lorne joined the wine trade, having worked during university vacations for André Simon Wines in Belgravia. Starting at the bottom rung of the Company, he rose to become Branch Manager of the Knightsbridge Branch, and then the Mayfair branch. He joined the Malmaison Wine Club in 1983 and, in 1984, became the world’s youngest Master of Wine. He served as a Councillor of the Institute of Masters of Wine in 1986 and also became the Institute’s representative trustee on the WSET from 1989-1993.

Lorne remained in the restaurant and wine trade with City Restaurants Plc and First Fine Wine (London) Plc until May 1993, when he joined Angus Dundee Distillers Plc – where he remains to this day. At Angus Dundee, he works in a commercial role responsible for the exports to North America, Scandinavia, parts of Europe, Australasia, and other diverse territories, along with the UK Duty-Free market. He also has a non-commercial role as the Master Blender (palate) of the Angus Dundee group, and the selector of single casks behind the “Mackillop’s Choice”, an Independent Bottler brand.

He joined the Livery in November 2010 and, until recently, chaired the Industry Committee (now renamed the Industry and Membership Committee), before passing the reins to Trevor Stirling. He is looking forward to serving the Livery in his new role as Renter Warden, assisting the new Master in these very challenging times.