The Master’s ‘Case for the 350’, auctioned in December, was acquired for £750 by one generous bidder. A big thank you, then, to our anonymous benefactor and we hope you enjoy ownership of the Case and, most importantly, it’s contents in the coming months!
The idea of the Master’s Case, from my year 2021-2022, was more than just about raising money for the Distiller’s Charity. Our charity partners, the Drinks Trust and the Alcohol Education Trust will specifically benefit from the money that was raised.
The Case and the collecting of the bottles during a year which saw our industry re-emerging from lockdowns and hospitality once again being open for business, gave us cause for celebration.
Visiting as many regions of the country as possible, meeting and speaking with the talented individuals and companies who produce and promote the products we so enjoy, seemed an obvious way for the Distiller’s support to the UK spirits industry.
I wish to thank again the 12 distilleries who donated the bottles for the Case which not only raised funds for our Charity but also highlighted the importance and value that we as a Livery attach to the relationship to the industry that the Worshipful Company of Distillers represents.
Thank you for all your support to me with the Masters Case for the 350.
2022 was a year like no other. To be Master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers in 2022 was a huge honour. A milestone for our Company, 350 years since being granted our Livery by the Alderman of the Corporation of the City of London in 1672.
Our own Honorary Court Assistant, Alderman Vincent Keaveny becoming only the second member of the Worshipful Company of Distillers and the first Irishman, acceding to the Mayoralty.
A year when the nation was emerging from two years of enforced periods of lockdown. It was possible to once again engage with fellow members of the Livery and the wider spirits trade’s. Scotland.
As Master I decided that we should mark this by ‘getting out there’ and committed to visiting one distillery each month of my Year. 12 distilleries, 6 in England, 6 in Scotland, not only to celebrate our industry’s robust survival through two years of hardship, but, too, of it’s people and it’s products.
A chance also to focus on the purpose of the Worshipful Company of Distiller’s charity, to spread the message, to learn of the of the incredible impact that our charitable and philanthropic work is having.
Thank you again to all the Distilleries that I visited, who so generously donated bottles, each visit all experiences that I shall never forget.
The Case for the 350th will be auctioned at Whisky.Auction and we thank Emily Webster and her colleagues for generously providing this platform for our Charity.
It will go live at Whisky.Auction on Sunday November 26th and will remain open for bids until Tuesday 5th December.
Update: Thank you to everyone who took part in the bidding!
This is a unique opportunity to acquire a unique case – full of some of the greatest names that the UK spirits industry has to offer. The money raised will go towards the continuing work of the Distiller’s Charity, specifically in support of The Drinks Trust, The Alcohol Education Trust and The Lord Mayor’s Appeal
I hope you enjoy the story – please consider a bid for a very special case from a very special Year!
Chris Porter Master 2021-2022
About The Case
I wanted a very special case to house the Case for the 350. I am therefore so grateful to Liveryman Neil Stevenson and his hugely talented team at NEJ Stevenson who have provided just that, generously offering to build and donate the wonderful, bespoke Case to house the bottles.
When I visited Neil’s workshop in early 2023 to collect it, I was really struck by the commitment, knowledge and skill every one of the team there showed, all masters of their craft, all working together to produce beautiful, made to order pieces.
The bespoke whisky presentation box is a stunning work of craftsmanship. The box is constructed from coloured high-density board and has been polished in a deep brown pigmented lacquer, giving it a beautifully smooth and seamless finish. The hand-painted logo engraved on the box lid is highlighted in a company colour to emphasis the purpose of the box and reflects the premium quality of the contents and the workmanship.
Inside the box, the attention to detail continues with the hand-wrapped black felt inserts, which provide a sumptuous and secure place for the storage of the whisky bottles. The lid of the box is held firmly in place by brass hinges and brass stays, which hold the lid so that there is easy access to the leather information wallet held in place by a clever system of magnetised timber strips.
It is a true work of art – to be treasured by the winning bidder long after the contents of it have gone!
The Distillers’ Charity hosted its second biennial Distillers One of One Auction, in partnership with Sotheby’s, in the stately Hopetoun House near Edinburgh on Thursday 5 October. Comprising a selection of ultra-rare Scotch whiskies, the 39-lot sale which attracted lively bidding, both in the room and online by collectors from across the globe, brought an outstanding aggregate total of £2,248,750 (total hammer price of £1,800,000) more than double the pre-sale low estimate. The Auction, which was attended by 180 people in the presence of the Master and Lord & Lady Hopetoun, culminated in all 39 lots being sold, and 18 records broken.
Of the Auction hammer price proceeds of £1.8 million, 90% will benefit The Distillers’ Charity’s Youth Action Fund, which aims to transform the lives of young people in Scotland aged between 16 and 25, by helping them to develop knowledge, confidence, resilience, and skills. The Youth Action Fund has assembled a panel of complementary charity partners, each providing expertise and experience in achieving sustainable employability outcomes for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The 10% balance of funds raised will help to support the Distillers’ Charity’s general charitable work, including Distillers’ Vocational Training & Education and City & Livery giving.
We are delighted that thanks to the generosity of Scotch Whisky industry donors, and buyers, the Youth Action Fund will have long-term funding to carry out its vital work. Building on an already strong foundation, the proceeds from this Auction will go towards supporting even more young people throughout Scotland over the next two years.
One in four young people are living in poverty, with many of those in the most disadvantaged areas still suffering from the effects of Covid-19 lockdown on their development, leading to them stepping away from education. Youth Action Fund support, through our partner charities, has played an essential role in developing their resilience, confidence and motivation and to get into further education or employment.
Celia Tennant, Chief Executive of Inspiring Scotland, who manage the Youth Action Fund (YAF) on behalf of The Distillers’ Charity
The 2023 auction result means that the first two Distillers One of One Auctions have raised a combined total of £4.2m for charity.
Grant Gordon OBE, Chairman of The Distillers’ Charity
“We’re very proud to see that the Scotch Whisky industry has once more come together and raised an incredible amount in support of disadvantaged young people in Scotland. In the past 21 months, with proceeds from the first One of One Auction, over 800 young people who were isolated, disengaged and inactive, have already benefited from support through the Youth Action Fund. This year’s Auction has once more raised a substantial amount of funds, which will contribute towards our aspiration of transforming the lives of young people. We sincerely thank all our industry leaders, the whisky collectors and the craftspeople that pour their passion into every cask and bottle, for their support and generosity, as well the Youth Action Fund’s charity partners who work tirelessly every day to support young people in Scotland.”
Grant Gordon OBE, Chairman of The Distillers’ Charity
Jonathan Driver, Chair of The Distillers Ventures Limited
“We’re overwhelmed to see that our second One of One Auction has been another resounding success, galvanizing whisky brands old and new, all in the name of philanthropy. To have raised such an exceptional sum for Scotland’s disadvantaged youth this year is very special to us, and we cannot wait to hear about further inspiring stories on how these funds will be used in practice. We’re also delighted to announce that the next One of One Auction will be back in 2025, continuing the momentum of creativity, philanthropy and celebration that we’ve built. We look forward to welcoming back our partners, including auctioneers Sotheby’s, and we’re proud to make a long-term commitment to funding and securing a future for young people in Scotland that benefit from the funds raised. The Distillers’ Charity would like to thank all who donated to, and bid on, the One of One Auction 2023, and we look forward to seeing them again in 2025.”
Jonathan Driver, Chair of The Distillers Ventures Limited
We would like to take the opportunity to thank Livery members for their support, encouragement and help in making the One of One Auction fundraising initiative possible and showing the philanthropic values of the Worshipful Company of Distillers in action. A special mention of thanks goes to the Working Group, who supported throughout the entire planning process and at the events themselves.
Today signals the launch of the Distillers One of One Auction 2023. Here is your opportunity to register to bid in this auction of exceptionally rare and distinctive Scotch whiskies.
Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Youth Action Fund, which has been created by The Distillers’ Charity with the aim to transform the life chances of young people in Scotland, empowering them to create positive change in their lives and communities.
The Distillers One of One and Sotheby’s are pleased to announce a joint exhibition at the Sotheby’s gallery in London: for the first time ever, visitors will have the opportunity to see a selection of ultra-rare, one-off whisky lots that will go under the hammer at The Distillers One of One Auction on 5th of October at Hopetoun House near Edinburgh. This is the first public reveal of these lots, you are cordially invited to visit and view them before they travel to Scotland for the auction on October 5th.
Following the successful start to the biennial auction series in 2021, this year’s Distillers One of One Auction boasts participation from thirty-six distilleries across the Scotch Whisky industry, collectively offering an impressive array of 39 lots. The proceeds from this remarkable auction will be donated to The Distillers’ Charity, principally to the Youth Action Fund, dedicated to transforming the lives of young people in Scotland.
Among the cohort of donors from across Scotland, there are thirteen Founder donors, many of whom will be displaying their unique lots at Sotheby’s London, including Aberfeldy, Bladnoch, Bowmore, Brora, Glenglassaugh, new brand KANDOBLANC, Macduff, Old Pulteney, The Glen Grant and The Last Drop.
Where: Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street Dates: 15th-20th September Times: 9.30am-4.30pm weekdays, 12-5pm weekend Details: Open to the public
The Salmon Youth Centre, which will benefit from this year’s Master’s appeal, has been working with young people in Bermondsey for over a hundred years, inspiring them to reach their potential. The Centre welcomes around 500 young people every week, many of whom are disadvantaged, such as care leavers, youth ex-offenders, disabled young people and other groups of young people at risk.
Support is targeted in three ways: improving young people’s health & wellbeing, preparing them for education & work and involving them in community engagement.
The Immediate Post Master, Chris Porter and I visited the Charity to experience first hand the breadth and depth of activities offered, and how the funds being raised by the Livery will make a difference to disadvantaged young people in the City of London.
In this first report of a series, Jamie Anglesea talks to us about some of the specific activities offered to improve young people’s prospects in education & work and what is in place to support their health and wellbeing.
The Worshipful Company of Distillers has pledged to raise £40k for this important cause. If you have not yet made a donation, please consider making one now, in the knowledge that the amount given will doubled by The Distillers’ Charity.
Your generosity will mean a lot to improve the life chances of young people in the City of London.
The Spirited Award was donated in 2022 by Immediate Past Master Chris Porter to The Distillers’ Charity. The purpose of the Award is for the Charity’s Trustees to identify an individual each year who has gone above and beyond helping turn the Distillers’ philanthropic aspirations into reality.
L-R: The Master; James Higgins, The Immediate Past Master
The winner of the inaugural Distillers’ Charity Spirited Award, presented at the Court & Livery Dinner at Saddler’s Hall on 27th April, was Court Assistant and Distiller’s Ventures Ltd Director, James Higgins.
A Liveryman since 2015, James’s charitable work with the Distillers began in 2018, when, armed with a very small team, he led, managed and delivered our Auction in that year. That work at the time was key to the success of that Distillers’ Charity Auction. Learning from it and realising what could be further achieved with the Auction module, James went on to work tirelessly behind the scenes, masterminding establishing the organisation that became Distillers Ventures Limited.
He helped negotiate the partnership with Sotheby’s and much more, resulting in the raising of £2.4m in the first One of One Auction in 2021. This was an unprecedented level in the history of the Distillers and began the helping transform the lives of young people, the beneficiaries of our Charity partners.
We were delighted to recognise this incredible contribution made to our Charitable work in presenting the inaugural Distillers’ Charity Spirited Award to James Higgins.
We proudly announce the winner of the inaugural Master’s Charity of the Year where Livery members have voted to choose the The Salmon Youth Centre, one of three contestants, aligned to The Distillers’ Charity’s mission to transform the lives of young people.
The Salmon Youth Centre, which will benefit from this year’s appeal, has been working with young people in Bermondsey for over a hundred years, inspiring them to reach their potential. The Centre welcomes around 500 young people every week, from all backgrounds, between six and 25 years old, promoting positive change and supporting their transition to adulthood. Support is targeted in three ways: improving young people’s health & wellbeing, preparing them for education & work and involving them in community engagement.
The Salmon Youth Centre work with a wide range of young people many of whom are disadvantaged, such as care leavers, youth ex-offenders, disabled young people and other groups of young people at risk. The Centre’s approach is to build long-term relationships with the young people engaged through regular social interaction, working to inspire them to reach their potential and contribute positively to the community.
We are hugely grateful to the Worshipful Company of Distillers for recognising the great work we do and choosing The Salmon Youth Centre as their charity of the year. Through your generosity we will be able to support some of the most disadvantaged young people in the City of London, providing mentoring, counselling for those struggling with mental health, evening meals for those families battling the cost-of-living crisis, and opening clubs for the 500 young people every week. We look forward this collaboration and thank you for all your kindness and support.
Jamie Anglesea, Acting Director Salmon Youth Centre
We are delighted that our Livery membership has chosen Salmon Youth Centre as the Master’s Charity of the Year. The Centre is based in Bermondsey, also home to the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, and their work closely aligns with our mission to support disadvantaged young people offering a broad range of services and we are pleased to help the charity’s progress.
Chris Searle, Master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers
Our target is to raise £40,000 through The Distiller’s Charity, in a £1 for £1 match funding campaign, to be launched by the Master on April 27th at the Spring Livery Dinner, following an Auction also benefiting the Salmon Youth Centre.
Play your part in helping raise funds for this important cause and transform the lives of young people. Please click the button to donate.
The Silent Auction in aid of the inaugural Master’s Charity of the Year is now live
We proudly announce the winner of the inaugural Master’s Charity of the Year, The Salmon Youth Centre. The aims of the organisation, voted for by Livery members, are aligned with the mission of The Distillers’ Charity to transform the lives of young people.
This Silent Auction allows you to bid for some truly fabulous experiences and all money raised will support The Salmon Youth Centre.
There are 15 great lots on which to bid, and our grateful thanks go to fellow Liverymen, friends, and supporters from the industry who have kindly donated these items to make this possible.
The Salmon Youth Centre has been reaching out to young people in Bermondsey for over a hundred years. The Centre welcomes around 500 young people between six and 25 years old each week from all backgrounds, such as care leavers, youth ex-offenders, disabled young people and other at-risk groups. Promoting positive change and supporting their transition to adulthood, the Centre’s approach is to build long-term relationships with the young people engaged through regular social interaction, aiming to inspire them to reach their potential and contribute positively to the community. For more information visit: Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey
The Auction is live NOW – and remains so until 11:59pm on April 27th, after the April Dinner. Please visit our dedicated auction website: Air Auctioneer – Distillers Silent Auction to view the lots and get bidding!
In attendance – Chris Porter, Chris Searle (Upper Warden), Sue Searle, Lorne MacKillop (Middle Warden), Nick Carr (Renter Warden), Louise Carr, Past Master Charles Maxwell, Peter Baxendale (Upper Bailiff, Waever’s Company) and Amy Wyatt-Jones (Partner, John Lewis & Partners and Master’s god-daughter!)
The final distillery visit of my year, took me back to London. Hayman’s splendidly spotless gin distillery in Balham, was founded by their Master Distiller, Christopher Hayman.
Christopher was our Master in 2004-2005 and has been an active and contributing Past Master of the Livery ever since. Christopher was also instrumental as a founder of The Gin Guild, helping establish and launch it in 2012 as a subsidiary of our Worshipful Company of Distillers. The Guild now has over 400 members.
It seemed highly historically appropriate that I should have been celebrating with Beefeater last week at the Tower, since The Hayman gin distilling story started in 1863 with one, James Burrough. It was his work created the recipes for Burrough’s, Olde Chelsey, Beefeater and Black Cat gins.
It was James who also developed a drier style that we know today as London Dry Gin.
James was the great grandfather of Christopher Hayman. In 1987 when the family business was sold, Christopher had the foresight to buy back part of the business in order for the family’s gin distilling journey to continue.
Now based in Balham, South West London, Christopher’s children James and Miranda run the day to day business, whilst Christopher, as Master Distiller, still has an active role in the distillery process.
We were warmly welcomed (for that read within two minutes we had a gin & tonic in our hands!) and sat comfortably whilst Christopher explained the family history, creating the product and building the brand to the success it enjoys today.
We spent time in the botanicals room and competitively pestle’d and mortar’d our way through to find our own perfect expression of the blend of juniper with the citrus, cinnamon, nutmeg, angelica and liquorice and orris root available for our experiments.
The serious business of tasting Hayman’s Old Tom, Dry and Sloe Gins then took place, expertly tutored by Ted, our tasting guide, enabling a full appreciation of each experience.
In 2019, Christopher’s 50 years of working in gin was celebrated by a presentation to him from James and Miranda of a special distillation, Hayman’s Rare Cut (the London Dry cut at 50%)
Whilst having adjourned to the upstairs in house bar for a most welcome and brilliantly prepared negroni cocktail, I was presented with one such bottle of Rare Cut, signed by Christopher, Miranda and James as a contribution from Hayman’s for my Master’s Case for the 350th Anniversary Appeal
A most enjoyable dinner at local hostelry, The Devonshire capped off what was a fascinating and enjoyable visit.
It was the perfect way to sign off from my Year as Master and from the visits I have completed each month to celebrate and promote the product and the people in this fantastic industry.
All unforgettable in their own unique ways, with warm hospitality and, of course, generosity of spirit in abundance.