The launch of The Distillers’ Charity “One Of One” Auction, supported by Sotheby’s

The launch of The Distillers’ Charity “One Of One” Auction, supported by Sotheby’s

Earlier this summer, The Distillers’ Charity and Sotheby’s announced a six-year partnership to host three biennial auctions of ultra-rare and unique Scotch whiskies and experiences under the name “The Distillers One of One”. The first Distillers One of One auction – comprising one-off, never-to-be-repeated lots specially created and donated by companies from across the Scotch Whisky industry – will take place on Friday 3 December 2021. The exceptional lots are now being revealed for the first time and will range in estimates from around £1,500 upwards to £500,000, all to be offered without reserve. Each lot has been carefully selected to showcase the excellence in craftsmanship, innovation and value of Scotch Whisky.

For the most serious collectors seeking an opportunity to own a piece of liquid history, some truly astonishing releases have been made available. Of particular note, as the highest valued lot of the auction, with an estimate of £350,000-£500,000, is a Talisker Cask of Distinction 1978. Casks of Distinction are selected on account of their outstanding quality, and this is the first ever to be offered at auction, paired with a cask-end that has been turned into an original work of art by Turner Prize nominee Callum Innes. After further ageing in the cask for up to five more years, the whisky will be housed in very special bottles and wooden presentation boxes, featuring the cask-end artwork of Callum Innes; another first for Casks of Distinction.

William Grant & Sons is providing three lots from Glenfiddich, The Balvenie and Ladyburn, all exceeding fifty years of age. Glenfiddich’s exceptional offering comprises four unique decanters – created especially for the auction and housed in a bespoke presentation case – from the 1950s: 1955, 1957, 1958 and 1959. The estimate for this ultra-rare collector’s piece is £220,000-350,000.

Glenfiddich 1950s Lot

Beam Suntory are generously offering two lots, one from Bowmore, the other from Glen Garioch.

The Bowmore Onyx is an exceptionally rare and unique 51 Year Old single malt presented in a hand carved, bespoke black glass vessel, inspired by the terroir of the island home of Islay. Matured in a refill hogshead barrel from 1970, this whisky is bottled at 47% ABV, and is the first ever 51 Year Old released by Bowmore Distillery (estimate £100,000-180,000).

The Glen Garioch Cask lot features two full casks of whisky: the first, a 31-year-old cask from 1990; the second, an en primeur cask distilled in 2021 (estimate £100,000-150,000). The last time that Glen Garioch was distilled using direct fire on the stills was 31 years ago. The practice of direct firing is now being reintroduced and this will be the very first cask from the newly fired stills, making this a unique lot of historical significance.

Scotland’s Oldest Working Distillery, The Glenturret, is providing an exclusive Lalique decanter bottling containing a unique Single Malt whisky selected from 1987 Sherry casks created by Master Blender, Bob Dalgarno. To house this precious liquid, Lalique have created a spectacular One of One hand-blown decanter in green crystal; the rarest that is made. Included in this lot (estimate £15,000-25,000) is an invitation to The Glenturret Distillery to enjoy a sensational gastronomic experience, led by Head Chef, Mark Donald at the newly opened Lalique Restaurant.

Glenturret Distillery

On offer from Gordon & MacPhail, the 126-year-old family business, is an unforgettable, bespoke visit to Elgin in Scotland. The lucky recipient will not only tour the historical warehouses but also sample from a selection of maturing Single Malt casks from the 1940s and 1950s. After choosing their favourite of the casks, one bottle of the whisky it contains will be filled into a unique decanter, with a second bottle provided for drinking. This once in a lifetime experience carries an estimate of £80,000-160,000.

The Distillers’ Charity is the philanthropic arm of The Worshipful Company of Distillers. Proceeds from The Distillers One of One auction will benefit The Youth Action Fund, which has been created by The Distillers’ Charity focusing on supporting disadvantaged young people in Scotland, transforming their life chances and empowering them to create positive change in their lives and communities. Working with charity partners who offer education and training programmes, the fund will provide young people with opportunities to develop life skills, discover their values and be work-ready.

“The generosity the Scotch Whisky industry has shown in coming together to create these truly unique lots available for this landmark sale has been humbling. Countless young people will benefit for years to come, thanks to the results of the auction. It is a testament to the spirit of the people who work within both the family-owned businesses, and global companies that have contributed to this momentous occasion. We cannot thank enough all those who have come on board with us and Sotheby’s to help realise our mission, and to all the collectors who will be taking part on the day.”

Jonathan Driver, Master of The Worshipful Company of Distillers

“This landmark sale, compiling such significant donations from so many world-renowned brands, shows the strength of community spirit in the Scotch Whisky industry. To bring this number of exceptional whiskies to auction, from unique bottles to rare casks offers, and all for a good cause, is reason enough to raise a glass to everyone involved.”

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Spirits Specialist

The Distillers’ One of One Auction of Ultra-Rare Scotch Whisky

Barnbougle Castle ©Rosebery Venues


Sotheby’s and The Distillers’ Charity Announce Partnership to Host Three Auctions of Ultra-Rare and Unique Scotch Whisky and Experiences

The Distillers’ Charity and Sotheby’s today announce a six-year partnership to host three biennial auctions of ultra-rare and unique Scotch whiskies and experiences under the name “The Distillers One of One”. The first Distillers’ One of One auction – comprising one-off, never-to-be-repeated lots specially created and donated by leading Scotch Whisky distilleries – will take place at Barnbougle Castle on the outskirts of Edinburgh on Friday 3 December 2021. There will be over 40 lots, which will showcase the excellence in craftsmanship, innovation and value of Scotch Whisky, ranging in estimates upwards to £250,000.

The Distillers’ Charity is the philanthropic arm of The Worshipful Company of Distillers. Proceeds from the One of One auction will benefit a fund, which has been created by The Distillers’ Charity focusing on supporting disadvantaged young people in Scotland, transforming their life chances and empowering them to create positive change in their lives and communities. Working with charity partners, including The Prince’s Foundation which offers education and training programmes, the Youth Action Fund will provide young people with opportunities to develop life skills, discover their values and be work-ready.

The Prince’s Foundation’s President, HRH The Prince of Wales, Duke of Rothesay, has sent The Distiller’s Charity a warm message of support saying how pleased he was that the combined forces of the Scotch Whisky industry were standing alongside each other to benefit countless young people and provide them with the tools they require to become vital members of their communities.

Jonathan Driver, Master of The Worshipful Company of Distillers, said: “Our ties with the Scotch Whisky Industry have been invaluable in creating this landmark sale, and the generosity shown has been overwhelming. Across the spectrum of the industry from independents to family-owned and global companies, we have come together in a collective endeavour to support the youth of today in Scotland through practical training and education. We are also delighted to have Sotheby’s on board to help with our philanthropic mission which will have far-reaching benefits for decades to come.”

Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine and Spirits, commented: “Working closely with The Distillers’ Charity and The Worshipful Company of Distillers, we will harness our knowledge and expertise in hosting auctions to create a regular series of sales that will not only shine a light on the Scotch Whisky industry but also raise valuable funds to support disadvantaged young people in Scotland.”

Further information about the contents of The Distillers One of One will be distributed by Sotheby’s and The Distillers’ Charity in the autumn.

Liveryman Georgie Bell named in top 10 female brand ambassadors list

To mark International Women’s Day, The Spirits Business are celebrating the talents of 10 female brand ambassadors across the spirits sector, highlighting the women representing some of the world’s biggest spirits brands.

Many of the women listed have a background in the bar industry, leading them to have some of the most sought-after skills needed for a brand ambassador position. Some have also gone to great lengths to champion diversity in the drinks sector through initiatives and discussions.

Georgie Bell – Bacardi

Georgie Bell is the Global Head of Advocacy for the Incubation brands at Bacardi. Previous to this, she was the Global Malts Ambassador for 4 years, and has spent a decade deeply rooted within the Scotch Whisky industry.

With a BSc in Distillation and as a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Distillers, Georgie has made it her life mission to get under the skin of whisky – standing up to misconceptions and challenging its so-called ‘image’ along with all the stereotypes that go alongside.

Having started her career as a bartender, she’s equally as comfortable behind a bar as she is sitting at one, usually enjoying an Aberfeldy Old Fashioned or a half’n’half with Craigellachie 13.

To read the full article, visit: The Spirits Business

Supporting Communities: The Drink Sector’s Response During The Covid-19 Pandemic

The Portman group have released a report, summarising the recent support provided by organisations within the drinks sector.

While we are in the third national lockdown, they have taken a moment to review the extensive support provided by organisations involved in alcohol. This has been carried out to celebrate their continuing hard work and also to allow other sectors to draw from the body of activity. It is their hope that others will be inspired by the programmes and ideas that have poured from producers, charities, member bodies and consumer groups during the pandemic.

To read more, please download the attached document.


Our Mentoring initiative has made significant progress in the first few months of 2021 with the launch of the first “Mentoring Pilot programme in the history of our Livery.  The VTEC (Vocational Training and Education Committee), led by Past Master Richard Watling researched the appetite for mentoring with our former sponsored students at WSET, IBD and ICBD.  The results highlighted a strong desire for mentoring in order to provide general career support, networking opportunities, and a range of help from start-up advice, to brand marketing, logistics and beyond.

We canvassed the Livery for prospective mentor volunteers and the first four mentees were matched with livery mentors this January.  All are now underway in “live” Mentoring relationships from locations right across the country, from London, the West Country, the Central Belt and the Scottish Lowlands.  Our first mentees report that they are just thrilled with the advice they have received so far and have made commitments to meet regularly, albeit only on-line for now.  Comments received; “Our first meeting was overwhelmingly positive. I genuinely could never have foreseen how helpful this pairing could be”. “So good to speak to someone who understands my needs, a brilliant match”.  Also “I just so appreciate the help. It has been a real inspiration for me”.

The Master commented: “Following the recent launch of the vocational training and education initiative, the Mentoring programme fits perfectly with our overall vision to be at the “Heart of the Spirits Industry”.  This reinforces our philanthropic and educational roots, making a difference to young people’s lives, especially the less advantaged. Giving back and helping in this difficult year makes me extraordinarily proud to lead the Distillers Livery. Thank you to all concerned”.

Further opportunities to Mentor will roll out over the next three years, with the programme accelerating this calendar year with close to 20 Mentees. We are particularly looking to find Mentors with a broad range of spirits industry knowledge and experience.

If you would like to volunteer to become a Mentor, please contact the Development Director, Clive Bairsto at   

Nick Carr
VTEC Communications Director

Press Release: The Worshipful Company of Distillers’ announces a dynamic new 3-year educational programme

The Worshipful Company of Distillers’ announces a dynamic new programme of scholarships and bursaries for over 100 students over the next three years. Financial support for key qualifications will be more than tripled with our UK educational partners who lead the world in spirits education. The WCD will be increasing the focus and share of money on less advantaged and promising students from a diverse range of backgrounds to help them achieve their ambitions, by meeting all the course fees in full.

Jonathan Driver, the Master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers said. “During these unprecedented times, we are very pleased to be able to make a difference to young people to help them attain future employment opportunities. We will also be capitalising on the rich source of skills and knowledge that resides in the membership of the Livery company, by offering a powerful new mentoring programme with added networking benefits”.

We will fund, through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), 25 Distillers’ awards of bursaries and scholarships for students to take WSET spirits qualifications at levels 1-3.

The Institute of Brewing & Distilling (IBD) will receive funding for two full bursaries per year for the General Certificate in Distilling, two further three-year full bursaries per year and an annual scholarship for the Diploma in Distilling, a key step on the journey to reach the Master Distiller qualification.

The International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh will, with the WCD’s continued financial support, deliver the MSc course scholarship.

Adding to this announcement, Past Master Richard Watling who leads the programme said. “These new initiatives will provide real impetus for training in distilled spirits in the UK, and we are thrilled to be able to support talented young people using all our considerable resources”.


Notes to the Editor The roots of the Worshipful Company of Distillers’ lie in vocational endeavour, reinforcing the aim to be at the “Heart of the Industry”. Recent research amongst training partners, scholars, corporate associates and member SME’s, reaffirmed a great desire for training and career support, especially among younger and aspiring members of the industry, and in the smaller companies with opportunities for work experience and training.

For all media enquiries, please contact Paul Finch at The Distillers’ Livery Communications at

Richard Paterson awarded OBE in 2021 New Year Honours

Whyte & Mackay master distiller Richard Paterson was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list for services to the Scotch whisky industry. Paterson recently celebrated 50 years at the firm, and he was handed the Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Spirits Challenge 2020.

He is nicknamed “The Nose” thanks to his peerless ability to assess the quality of whiskies, and he has served as the International Spirits Challenge whisky chairman for several years.

Queen Elizabeth II has now made him an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) to celebrate his fantastic contribution to the industry over the past five decades.

Diageo launches $100 million recovery fund to help pubs and bars welcome back customers after lockdown

  • New global programme to help pubs and bars recover from COVID-19, supporting jobs and communities around the world
  • Practical equipment for outlets to implement new social distancing measures, digital skills training and contactless technology
  • Diageo calls on governments to provide long-term recovery packages for the hospitality sector

24 June 2020: Diageo, maker of GUINNESS, has today announced a new global programme to support pubs and bars to welcome customers back and recover following the COVID-19 pandemic. “Raising the Bar” will be a two-year programme available from July 2020.

Through “Raising the Bar”, Diageo will provide $100 million to support the recovery of major hospitality centres, including: New York, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Sydney and beyond.  This $100 million programme includes the $20 million Community Fund announced in the United States on 12 June 2020.

Diageo designed the “Raising the Bar” programme following a global survey of bar owners to identify what they need to reopen after lockdown. Their top priorities include hygiene measures, digital support and practical equipment to transform how their outlets will work.

The “Raising the Bar” programme will provide targeted support to help pay for the physical equipment needed for outlets to re-open. For example, in the UK, Diageo will provide initial funding for: ‘hygiene kits’ with high-quality permanent sanitiser dispense units, medical grade hand sanitiser and a range of personal protection equipment (such as masks and gloves); help to pubs and bars to establish partnerships with online reservations and cashless systems; mobile bars and outdoor equipment.

From 24 June 2020, bar owners will be able to register their interest for the “Raising the Bar” programme via globally and in the UK and Ireland. Bar owners will receive regular updates on best practice training and resources and be able to participate in global surveys to share insights, as they build back their businesses.

Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive of Diageo commented: ‘Pubs and bars sit at the heart of every community. We have launched “Raising the Bar” as so many outlets have been impacted by this crisis and badly need help to open their doors again.’

‘We are calling on governments around the world to provide long-term recovery packages to help the hospitality sector. These businesses play an essential role in bringing people together to socialise and celebrate – something that we have all missed so much during this terrible crisis – and sustain hundreds of millions of jobs, which provide a first foot on the employment ladder for young people.’

The UN’s International Labour Organization has forecast that 436 million enterprises worldwide face serious disruption and one in six young people will be unemployed due to COVID-19. The hospitality sector will be one of the hardest hit, as pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants provide hundreds of millions of jobs for many full and part-time workers.

The impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality sector has been widespread, with the closure of venues the world over. As governments begin to ease lockdown measures, the public want to come together again to connect with their community and socialise safely. By providing access to free digital support, technology, training and equipment, Diageo aims to help bars open their doors again.

For further information please contact:
Diageo Press Office
+44 (0) 7803 856 200

Notes to editors:

  • UN’s International Labour Organization forecast is available via:
  • To be eligible to participate in the $100 million of targeted support from the “Raising the Bar” programme, outlets:
    • Must be registered as a legal entity (for tax purposes) or equivalent in each jurisdiction
    • Must have been operating for minimum period of 12 months before introduction of any national or local lockdown restrictions due to Covid-19, affecting its ability to operate in a business as usual manner
    • Must have a beer and/or spirits licence or equivalent
    • Must demonstrate at least one way in which they are or plan to “Raise the Bar” in their community, including: promoting inclusion and diversity and job-creation in disadvantaged communities; promoting positive drinking and tackling harm or anti-social behaviour; focusing on sustainability or community support; and providing skills training, especially those from disadvantaged groups.

About Diageo
Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands across spirits, beer and wine categories.  These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Buchanan’s and Windsor whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is a global company, and our products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world.  The company is listed on both the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and the New York Stock Exchange (DEO).  For more information about Diageo, our people, our brands, and performance, visit us at  Visit Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource,, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice.

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.


A survey of more than 11,000 people across nine countries has found: 

  • 84% of drinkers are drinking the same or less alcohol during shutdowns, with almost one in three people (30%) saying they are drinking less or have stopped 
  • Of the 11% drinking more under shutdowns, 72% plan to revert to their old drinking habits 
  • 54% of people miss socializing and dining out at restaurants or bars, second only to socializing with family and friends (64%) 
  • Concern remains for the 5% of drinkers who said their drinking has led to more problems 

During lockdowns, the vast majority of drinkers (84%) are maintaining their previous levels of drinking or consuming less alcohol, a survey of more than 11,000 people across nine countries has found.

When the coronavirus shutdowns began, photographs of empty alcohol shelves in supermarkets around the world led to fears that people would drink more when they were confined to their homes and buying alcohol at a lower cost than they would normally pay in restaurants and bars. 

Now a YouGov survey for the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) of 11,678 adults in Australia, South Africa, Mexico, France, United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, and New Zealand has revealed that most people have consumed the same or less during shutdowns.

Almost one in three drinkers (30%) said they were drinking less or had stopped during shutdowns, and of those almost half (46%) said they would continue to drink less when the restrictions were eased.  

Drinkers aged under 35 years have been the most likely to give up drinking completely during this period, with more than one in seven (15%) abstaining from alcohol while they have been unable to socialize at restaurants or bars.

Of the minority of drinkers (11%) who were drinking more during shutdowns, most (72%) said they were planning to revert to their previous drinking habits once lockdowns have eased and bars and restaurants reopen. 

However, concern remains for an average of 5% of drinkers who said their alcohol consumption had led to them experiencing more problems due to their drinking under the coronavirus restrictions. 

International Alliance for Responsible Drinking President, Henry Ashworth said: “Despite reports of people rushing to stock up on alcohol in supermarkets, pictures of empty shelves, and early increases in off-premise alcohol sales, today’s polling indicates that the vast majority of people in these nine countries consumed the same or less alcohol during shutdowns.  

“It is also encouraging that many intend to maintain these moderate habits as restaurants and bars, which have been sorely missed as a vital part of many people’s social wellbeing, begin to open. 

“Some people are clearly struggling with their alcohol consumption during shutdowns and it is important that these individuals seek support from their doctor or specialist organizations that offer the chance to talk about their drinking. Having consulted with a doctor, for some people, the better choice may be not to drink at all during this difficult time.”  

Socializing and dining out at restaurants or bars is missed by 54% of people, second only to socializing with friends and family (64%). It ranks highly within the things missed about normal life in all nine countries. Overall, the majority of respondents in nearly all countries believe that the current restrictions during shutdowns are just about right.

However, there are clear divisions in South Africa, where an alcohol ban was put in place during shutdown. Almost half of respondents in South Africa (46%) felt that regulations surrounding the sale and purchase of alcohol in their country were too restrictive. This has resulted in drinkers obtaining alcohol during shutdown from other sources*, with 45% saying they made their own homemade alcohol and 29% acquiring homemade alcohol from others. This suggests that drinkers were accessing and consuming unregulated and potentially toxic alcohol drinks, and breaching shutdown rules to do so. 

In Mexico, where heavy restrictions on alcohol were put in place in some local states, almost one in four people felt regulations in their country were too restrictive (24%).  

Sadly, both Mexico and South Africa have seen deaths or illness from unregulated and illicit alcohol during their shutdowns. In Mexicoover 150 people died in May alone after consuming illicit alcohol. These deaths happened in local states where alcohol had been banned during shutdown.

Commenting on the growth of illicit alcohol in these markets, Henry Ashworth said:  

 “Unregulated and illicit alcohol is bad for government, bad for economies, and potentially very bad for health. Although most governments have looked at ways that legal and regulated producers could stay open during this period, a few countries have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing heavy restrictions that are leading to unintended consequences, such as driving consumers to unregulated sources of alcohol.”  


*Respondents were asked which, if any, of the following sources they had bought or obtained alcohol since stay at home orders began: in-store; online purchase; restaurant/bar delivery or takeaway; I have been making my own; I have been getting it from others who make their own; and other.  

[1]For more information about the wide-reaching implications /of unregulated alcohol, please see IARD’s Alcohol in the Shadow Economy report.  

Notes to Editors:  

  1. The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to addressing harmful drinking worldwide. IARD is supported by its member companies from all sectors of the regulated alcohol industry – beer, wine, and spirits – in their common purpose of being part of the solution to reducing the harmful use of alcohol. For more information on our membership and what we do, please visit
  2. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 11,678 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13th and 21st May 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all country adults (aged 18+). 

For more information contact:  Puja Darbari – + 44 (0) 7818071922