The Distillers’ Charity – Summer Update 2022

The Distillers’ Charity – Summer Update 2022

This is the first Distillers’ Charity Update this year, designed to give you a thorough overview of our charitable activities and efforts so far in 2022, together with details of where your donations are going, and the impact they have jointly created. We hope this further demonstrates the importance of your ongoing support for the causes we provide assistance to.

Livery & City Giving
Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)’s Ukraine Appeal
Disaster Emergency Committee logo

The unexpected Ukraine invasion prompted strong support from Liverymen and, as part of the DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal (the Big Give), Livery members helped raised £20,000 for The Distillers’ Charity. This was 100% match funded as part of the Big Give, such that we raised a total of £40,000 to help the Ukrainian people.

The appeal to raise funds for people affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been recognised as a record-breaker. From the appeal’s launch on 3rd March 2022, it has been confirmed by Guinness World Records as the highest amount given to an online campaign in a single week, and the total raised passed £300m in May. In the first six months of the response, DEC charities and their local partners are providing access to healthcare, cash, food, water, sanitation and hygiene protection, as well as shelter for people affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

We would like to thank everyone in the Livery who gave generously to The Distillers’ Charity in aid of this appeal. The conflict is not over, but we know our contribution has been incredibly valuable.

Alcohol Education Trust (AET)
Alcohol Education Trust logo

The AET team is thrilled to launch a new wellbeing website Life-Stuff for young adults, which offers advice on a wide range of topics. Close collaboration with funders means that the remit and extent of work to support young people up to the age of 25 has been doubled. The new site includes helpful advice and information on a wide range of topics including alcohol, drugs, mental health, gaming/gambling, money, domestic violence and sexual abuse – as well as festivals and travelling abroad.

AET welcome the recommendations from The Home Affairs Committee on Drink Spiking, and AET’s proposals – together with written and verbal evidence submitted by AET’s CEO, Helena Conibear – are being considered further. A range of resources on drink spiking has also been produced, including two short films – as well content delivered via Life Stuff older teenagers.

Future Youth Zone – Barking & Dagenham
Future Youth Zone logo

50% of young people in Barking and Dagenham live in poverty. The Distillers’ Charity is a founding supporter of Future Youth Zone, whose workers are on hand at the Zone’s modern facility to inspire young people to lead healthier, more positive lives, raising their aspirations to become happy, caring, and responsible citizens. Every member visiting the Zone gets to learn, develop, and harness their skills and talents, doing what they enjoy most. With over 20 activities on offer 7 days a week – from boxing and climbing, to cooking and dancing – there really is something for everyone.

In May, Future Youth Zone celebrated its third anniversary, and there certainly was every reason to celebrate! Reaching nearly 46,000 young people in the last year alone, the charity has served 20,000 meals to the community, helped 25 Young Leaders complete valuable life skills training and supported 43 young people with its employability programme: “Made in Barking & Dagenham”.

Katie was one of the youngsters who benefited from the charity’s work. She used to be someone who would never go out the house, had no confidence and not many friends. Then her mum suggested she join Future Youth Zone, where she was introduced to other people.

A person playing a guitar sat next to another person in front of a keyboard
Katie learning to play the guitar

They were very friendly towards me, and this made me want to go more often. I felt welcomed by all the staff members and they would always ask me how I was, and it made my day. It helped me gain more confidence, and the staff members helped me to be the best that I could be. They inspired me so much I became a Young Leader. I was the one person who would never go out the house and now I never shut up! My journey with Future is one that will always stay with me. I hope to be a youth worker one day.

Katie, Youth Zone beneficiary
Two people in a handmade multicoloured frame with the word "future"
3rd anniversary celebration in Barking & Dagenham
L – R: Past Master Richard Watling, Gershom Clarke, Head of Youth Work at Future Zone
The Drinks Trust
Drinks Trust logo

The past few years have been particularly challenging for our drinks industry community. Furlough, redundancies, and other factors have led to financial and emotional hardship for many, and The Drinks Trust’s support services have been in high demand. Thankfully, hospitality is returning to business, marking the beginning of a long road back to recovery which will take some of our colleagues many years to travel.

From January to May 2022, The Drinks Trust awarded over £245,000 in financial support, being the single highest amount given to the greatest number of colleagues during the same period in the long history of the charity. Many of these individuals are struggling with debts that have accumulated during Covid. Since the beginning of the year, The Drinks Trust helped over 2,200 individuals across financial and welfare services, including 24-hour Helpline, counselling services, and support with mindful drinking, and for those struggling with insomnia.

Additionally, The Drinks Trust recently launched another suite of services supporting individuals to lift themselves out of hardship through vocation-specific training and education, and with introductions to employers to help them find long term work. Looking forward, with the cost of living and home energy increasing, the Trust is anticipating a rise in the level of individual need until the end of 2022 and beyond.

A bartender pouring a drink into a spirit measure
Drinks Trust Bartender
Youth Action Fund
Inspiring Scotland logo

The Youth Action Fund was officially launched in Edinburgh on 7th February 2022, in partnership with Inspiring Scotland, who manage the fund on behalf of The Distillers’ Charity. The mission of the Youth Action Fund is to create opportunities for Scotland’s young people to thrive, by supporting high quality training, education, vocational and other life-enhancing opportunities, funding programmes which make a real, measurable impact.

There has been an excellent start, with 136 young people engaged across the three delivery partners – Aberdeen Foyer, Enable Scotland and Street League – representing 39% of the 2022 Annual target of 352 set with Inspiring Scotland.

Infographic showing Q1 results vs targets. Young people engaged: 136 vs target 69, Soft outcomes: 291 vs 225 target, Progression milestones: 8 vs target 0, Employability outcomes: 0 vs target 0.

The first stage in supporting young people is building trust and focusing on developing the basic life skills for progression and success. Results in this area are measured by ‘Soft Outcomes’ and defined as resilience, aspiration, motivation, self-belief, personal responsibility, and wellbeing. 291 soft outcomes were achieved in the first quarter against a target of 225 – a very good result.

As young people achieve soft outcomes, they are then supported to build skills for work. These are more tangible achievements that will strengthen their CVs and demonstrate their readiness for work, whilst continuing to build their soft skills, particularly self-belief and aspiration. Development in this area is measured by ‘Progression Milestones’. The final aim is a ‘positive destination’ from which individual young person can continue to progress successfully, reaching a range of potential ‘Employability Outcomes’.

Supported by the Youth Action Fund, AET Scotland has, since March, delivered 14 ‘train the trainer’ sessions on alcohol and cannabis for 16+ young people across the nation. A group of staff from the three main Youth Action Fund delivery partners Enable Scotland, Street League and Aberdeen Foyer, participated together in the training. A further 72 professional staff completed the training sessions and are now equipped with their own 16+ resource pack to aid in the delivery of alcohol and cannabis education and training with the young people that they support.

A group of young people holding certificates
AET training participants in Scotland with their 16+ Alcohol and Cannabis resource packs
The Distillers’ Vocational Training & Education Programme (VTE)

VTE provides support to assist promising young entrants to the spirits trade to develop their knowledge and skills, as well as to encourage high standards of distilling practice and service. This is achieved through support in scholarships, bursaries, and mentoring.

VTE harnesses the Livery’s collective knowledge and experience, supporting the diversity of the next generation of talent. At present, 17 people are actively taking part in our mentorship programme, and we aim to increase it by over +50%, and to have engaged 26 mentees by the end of 2022.

So far this year, 10 WSET scholarships have been agreed, and 8 further awards at both Level 2 and Level 3 are being confirmed. Also, 3 students at Heriot-Watt International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) received MSc Bursary awards of £500 each and are receiving valuable mentorship from the Livery.

As part of the Distillers’ new strategy of longer-term support for promising young distillers, Alice Pearson of Cotswolds Distillery was awarded a Distillers’ Charity bursary to undertake the three-year course for the Diploma in Distilling at the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) in London. Starting as a guide at the distillery, Alice is responsible for new product development as well as cask selection of whisky for maturing, vatting and bottling, especially in the premium special releases – commitments which she has taken on with characteristic enthusiasm and dedication. Alice has been recognised as an “Emerging Talent in Spirits” at the 2021 IWSC awards and congratulated on producing the top English Old Tom Gin.

Alice Pearson, Cotswolds Distillery, Distillers’ Charity bursary awardee
Alice Pearson, Cotswolds Distillery, Distillers’ Charity bursary awardee

Glenfarclas Distillery – Master’s Distillery Visit

Video message from the Master

The Master made the fifth of the twelve visits to distilleries around the country, one per month of his Year in celebration of the Livery’s 350th Anniversary Year. Focusing is on the charitable work and incredible contributions being made by Distillers up and down the country and how our industry is thriving, responding and managing demand in the post-pandemic world.

Grateful thanks to Liveryman John Grant and his team at Glenfarclas for making the Master so welcome.

The highlight of the visit was being presented with a cask of single malt, the final few drams of which were topped up by the Master who sealed it thoroughly with the bung before being put into safe keeping deep in the Glenfarclas warehouses.

The 2022 cask is marked for The Distillers for the specific purpose to auction in 20+ years to help contribute to our charitable causes and those in need long into the future.

Thank you Glenfarclas, for your outstanding generosity and an outstanding visit.

Chris Porter
Master 2021-22

The Cotswolds Distillery – Master’s Distillery Visit

The Company received the warmest of welcomes of Liveryman Daniel Szor, his wife Katia and all their team at the wonderful Cotswolds Distillery on Saturday 26th March.

Our visit comprised of a tour, tasting and convivial lunch, culminating in a donation of a bottle of their Founders Reserve to my Masters Case for the 350, which will be auctioned in November, featuring all the bottles that have kindly been donated from each of my 12 visits this year.

We congratulate Alice Pearson of Cotswolds Distillery, who is currently responsible for new product development and cask selection of whisky for maturing, vatting and bottling of premium special releases.

We are proud to support Alice with a bursary to undertake a three year course for the Diploma in Distilling at the Institute of Brewing in line with our strategic approach to support vocational training and for talented individuals to help grow their potential and fulfil ambition.

We’re delighted to share the photos and report from the day and thank you to Upper Warden, Chris Searle for deputising for me on the day.

Finally, a short film from me, updating you on the great progress and funds raised so far for the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal and how The Distillers can continue to donate more urgent and much-needed support to the people fleeing from the war in Ukraine via our website

The Master’s video message on the Cotswolds Distillery Visit

Thank You and best wishes

Chris Porter
Master 2021-22

The Distillers, led by the Upper Warden, arrive at the Cotswolds Distillery

Sadly through injury Chris Porter our Master was unable to attend on this occasion, however the occasion was led by Upper Warden Chris Searle and supported by Middle Warden Lorne Mackillop.

The occasion started with an excellent and very convivial dinner at Feldon Lodges the night before hosted by the Upper Warden and attended by a further 6 liverymen together with wives and partners in most instances.

The following morning dawned very bright and sunny and we then proceeded to The Cotswold Distillery site in Stourton .Where we were joined by liveryman John Barrett and past master Charles Maxwell and respective family members.

Dan Szor and Katia Cirkurel were our hosts for the day and gave us an extremely comprehensive tour of the distillery, the labs, bottling facility and warehouse talked about the development to date and future plans, including a visit to the new distillery which will increase the capacity enormously from around August this year.

This was followed by a tasting of 6 of the company’s finest single malts and lunch at which Chris Searle thanked Dan and Katia for such a memorable visit.

Finally Dan and Katia presented the upper warden with a bottle of The Cotswolds Distillery Founder’s Choice which will go towards the Master’s 350th Appeal.

It is very clear that the success of this company, founded in 2014 owes much to the shear enthusiasm and commitment of Dan and Katia but also the team who work with them and we all look forward to seeing the company go from strength to strength.

Our thanks go to all at The Cotswolds Distillery, particularly Dan and Katia , this was a great day for the Worshipful Company, which will be remembered for many years to come.

Chris Nadin

Distillers’ Charity DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal — NOW CLOSED

UPDATE: 15 June 2022

We are pleased to share the news that members of the Worshipful Company of Distillers helped raise £40,000 for the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

The total was achieved by Livery members helping raise £20,000 for Distillers’ Charity, which was matched 100%, through the Big Give Ukraine Disasters Emergency Appeal.

Thank you to everyone in the Livery who gave generously.

Although the main part of our fundraising has finished and the match funding has closed, you can still donate through this link: DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal

Image: Michael Kappeler/dpa

Thanks to the strong values and solidarity of the British people with our fellow Europeans, the Disasters Emergency Committee’s appeal to help people affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been recognised as a record-breaker. From its launch on 3rd March it has been confirmed by Guinness World Records as the highest amount given to an online campaign in a single week, and the total raised exceeded £300m last month. In the first six months of the response, DEC charities working with their local delivery partners are providing access to healthcare, cash, food, water, sanitation and hygiene, protection as well as shelter for people affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

I would like to thank everyone in the Livery who gave generously to The Distillers’ Charity in aid of the DEC Ukraine appeal. The conflict is not over but we know that our Charity’s contribution, matched 100% via the Big Give, was incredibly valuable marking our support for Ukrainians whose lives are being impacted by this horrific conflict.

Thank you so much for your engagement and with my very best wishes.

Chris Porter

Fellow Liveryman Dr. Gordon Steele Shares his Mentoring Experience

I am delighted to share this very compelling and considered video with you. I share it in the hope that it may inspire some of you now, and if not now, in the future, to share the great knowledge, and experience that you have accumulated throughout your careers in our fascinating industry.

Last but not least I suggest it as a route through which you could satisfy your desire to help others. In this our 350th Anniversary Year it is a great example of a way to share our time and talents with those who would really value it. 

I would very much like to thank Gordon for kindly preparing this video.

The Vocational Training and Education Committee led by Richard Watling continue to make great strides in this important new mentoring initiative for the WCD and the level of interest and results are shining through. Having only started in early 2021 during lockdown we now have 18 mentees from all sections of our industry (distilling to marketing to hospitality) successfully allocated and engaged to Liveryman mentors best able to match their individual needs.

Spring 2022 sees us expanding the scope of our mentoring to include our Military Affiliates and the Drinks Trust.

May I thank all involved in this valuable initiative.

Chris Porter
Master 2021-22

If anyone is interested in becoming a mentor, please do contact our Development Director, Clive Bairsto:

The Lakes Distillery – Master’s Distillery Visit

What a fabulous day spent in the company of Liveryman Nigel Mills, CEO and co-founder of The Lakes Distillery. This was my third of twelve monthly visits during my year as Master, to celebrate the 350th Anniversary of our Livery and my Master’s Appeal. 

It also of courses celebrates the creativity, innovation, and wonderful spirits being produced in both young and established distilleries all over the country.

Having already seen fantastic examples of this at East London Liquor Co and English Whisky Company, the exception talent and vision Nigel and his team have had at The Lakes has seen remarkable growth in their 10 year existence. Our tasting, co hosted by trainee blender, Grace Gorton, was a real privilege for me, sublime whiskies including their latest Limited Edition Whisky Makers single malt Mosaic. 

Thanks to everyone at The Lakes for their outstanding hospitality.

The Master with Nigel Mills – CEO and Co-founder, The Lakes Distillery
Nigel Mills with Grace Gorton – Trainee Distiller

The Master

English Whisky Company – Distillery Visit

The Master’s introduction to The English Whisky Company

I was warmly welcomed by Liveryman Andrew Nelstropp and his team at The English Whisky Company in Roudham, Norfolk on January 19th, the second of twelve distillery visits that I’m doing in my year to raise awareness and funding for our 350th Anniversary Appeal.

Lucy Marcuson from The Drinks Trust explains how the charity uses their funds

Accompanied by Lucy Marcuson from The Drinks Trust, one of our Distillers Charity partners, Andrew kindly took the time to tour us around the site and explain the farming, brewing and distilling history of the Nelstropp family. Andrew is co-founder and Chairman of today’s business, with a thriving production of whiskies with no shortage of consumers.

Andrew Nelstropp and the Master talk about the English Whisky Company

The footage below shows Andrew bottling a special bottle of English Malt, from Bourbon cask, and kindly donated to my Master’s Case for the 350. He has also kindly agreed to donate £1,000 on selected bottles with the 350th Distillers logo to come to our Appeal

I would like to extend my thanks to Andrew for his generosity of time, money and spirit !

The exclusive bottling!