Distillers One Of One Charity Auction Will Return to Edinburgh for Second Edition in October 2023

Distillers One Of One Charity Auction Will Return to Edinburgh for Second Edition in October 2023

The world’s most distinguished ultra-rare whisky auction, the Distillers One of One, has announced that the second edition will take place at Hopetoun House near Edinburgh on Thursday, 5th October 2023. In partnership with Sotheby’s, the Distillers One of One brings together an unparalleled collection of one-off, never-to-be-repeated Scotch whiskies from distilleries across the length and breadth of Scotland. The Distillers Charity expects to secure between thirty-five and forty unique lots, each showcasing the excellence and individuality of craftsmanship of Scotland’s most stellar distilleries.

Hopetoun House

The inaugural Distillers One of One Auction took place in December 2021, supported by leading brands from across the Scotch Whisky industry, and raised £2.4m for charity of which £2.2m was granted to the newly created Youth Action Fund. The Youth Action Fund was established by The Distillers’ Charity to support disadvantaged young people in Scotland, transform their life chances, and empower them to create positive change in their lives and communities.

“The success of the first auction in December 2021 was tremendous – the vision and work put in by the Distillers’ Charity supported by the contributions from the Scotch Whisky industry has established a new force in Scotland to back our young people in extremely difficult times. The creation of the Youth Action Fund will provide significant support to young people across Scotland to help them reach their full potential.”

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland

Founder Donors of The Distillers One of One will be returning to create unique lots for the auction, including Bacardi (John Dewar and Sons), Brown-Forman, Campari Group (The Glen Grant), Diageo, The Glenturret, Holyrood, Pernod Ricard, and William Grant & Sons.

The Distillers’ Charity is also pleased to confirm the participation of Berry Brothers & Rudd, Bruichladdich, Gordon & MacPhail, International Beverage, Isle of Raasay, Kilchoman, The Glenmorangie Company, The Last Drop Distillers, The Borders Distillery, That Boutiquey Whisky Company, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Tomatin, Whyte & Mackay as well as the world-renowned glassmakers Glencairn.

“The Distillers’ Charity is hugely excited to announce the second edition of the Distillers One of One charity auction, such was the success of the landmark inaugural event last December which raised millions for disadvantaged young people in Scotland. It’s an extraordinary opportunity for passionate Whisky collectors and the entire Scotch whisky industry – among them family-owned enterprises and global brands – to come together and celebrate our craft, in the service of the young people in our communities. We hope that the results of this philanthropic endeavour will have far-reaching benefits for decades to come.”

Beanie Geraedts-Espey, Managing Director of Distillers Ventures, The Distillers’ Charity’s fundraising arm

Considered one of Scotland’s finest stately homes and lauded for its handsome grounds, the 17th century Hopetoun House is the family seat of the 4th Marquess of Linlithgow and will provide a suitably majestic atmosphere in which to bid upon and enjoy the finest, most exciting whiskies in Scotland.

Further information about the contents and participating brands of The Distillers One of One will follow in spring 2023.

Warner’s Distillery – Master’s Distillery Visit

I met the ebullient Tom Warner, one of the speakers at our City Debate in June. Not only was I taken with his ability to win the argument and sway the audience on the night, but was lucky enough to be given an open invitation to visit Warner’s Gin.

It was an offer that was too good to turn down, setting off in the first week of August to the stunning family home and distillery site at Falls Farm in Harrington, Northamptonshire.

The warmest of welcomes from founders Tom and Tina, and their two colleagues, Conservation & Sustainability Manager, Jonny Easter and Liquid Innovation Manager, Rachel Sutherland.

Not for the first time in my year as Master, I was absolutely blown away by the knowledge, passion and dedication to the company’s sustainable ethos. It flowed from this young team.

100% natural range of spirits are distilled on the farm. Home grown produce resulting in a stunning range of flavours – gins infused with rhubarb, raspberry, elderflower … and the HoneyBee Gin, from honey from the bees’ hives on the farm, with whom I became very well acquainted during my tour!

Rachel’s experiments with fresh botanicals from rescued citrus peel and ginger, to banana and coriander is an art form in itself. Unique flavours and colours brought to the traditional backdrop canvass of spirit and juniper.

Everywhere I looked, there was nature at work, from these flavourings to the non-alcoholic Warner’s 0% also distilled using farm-grown ingredients. “0% Alcohol, 100% Natural” goes the tag-line and these refreshing alternatives to their more impactful alcoholic counterparts are a delight.

Enough words from me – the photos taken on a warm summer’s day in the heart of the English countryside speak for themselves. I hope that these give you some idea as to how much I enjoyed coming to this remarkable place.

Thank you to everyone at Warner’s, especially to Tom, Tina, Jonny and Rachel for such outstanding hospitality.

Chris Porter
Master 2021-22

2022 Spirits Tasting

The World Drinks Awards held its Spirits Tasting on 26th July 2022, in partnership with the Worshipful Company of Distillers, where over 200 country and world winners were poured and tasted.

The event took place at Vintners’ Hall, London, with a stunning attendance where guests enjoyed a variety of activities. Along with tastings, a selection of cheese and preserved meats were on offer, as well as a Distillers Cocktail Bar sponsored by Milroy’s, and a presentation from The Master and World Drinks Awards. All profits made from the event have been generously donated to the Worshipful Company of Distillers’ charity, to help continue the improvement of the lives of young people throughout the country.

All winning drinks which were featured at the event can be found on the World Drinks Awards website.

I’m so pleased that this, one of our flagship events, has returned after the two year hiatus. We are very pleased and proud that as the Worshipful Company of Distillers our relationship with the spirits industry is such that we have unfettered access to a wide variety of global and local brands and products from our friends, colleagues and contacts across the industry.
I am delighted that we are able to show these tonight, truly the spirits industry at it’s finest. A huge thank you is due to organisers World Drinks Awards, Court Assistant Damien Riley Smith (of Paragraph Publishing), Court Assistant Allen Gibbons and Past Master Charles Maxwell for organising an extraordinary and fascinating range and tasting.

Chris Porter, Master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers

We are honoured to have been asked to collaborate with the Worshipful Company of Distillers to showcase a selection of our 2022 World Drinks Awards winners. With spirits from around the globe and ranging from gin to whisky, liqueurs to tequila, the quality and variety of products displays a never-ending commitment to tradition and innovation from the world of spirits. A special thanks to all those who attended, and with such a success we are already looking forward to next year.

Awards Director Anita Ujszaszi

The Distillers’ Charity Announces Appointment New Managing Director To Lead The Distillers One Of One Auctions

The Distillers’ Charity announces the appointment of Beanie Geraedts-Espey as the Managing Director of its subsidiary, Distillers’ Ventures Limited, effective immediately. Distillers’ Ventures Limited is the Fundraising arm of The Distillers’ Charity and focusses principally on the organisation and delivery of a biennial Distillers One of One Auction of ultra-rare, one-of-a-kind Scotch whiskies.

The inaugural Distillers One of One Auction took place in December 2021, supported by leading brands from across the industry, and raised £2.4m for charitable causes, with over £2.2m going to the newly created Youth Action Fund. The Youth Action Fund was established by The Distillers’ Charity as a specific fund to help transform the chances of young people in Scotland, empowering them to create positive change in their lives and communities. The second Distillers One of One will take place in summer 2023.

With over eighteen years’ experience in senior marketing and leadership roles in the FMCG and beverage alcohol industries, including five years as joint Managing Director of the rare spirits company The Last Drop Distillers, Beanie brings with her a wealth of experience to deliver the Charity’s ambition to make The Distillers One of One Auction the world’s pre-eminent rare spirits auction, with the full hammer proceeds being utilised to help change the life chances of Scotland’s young people.

Beanie Geraedts-Espey

“I am delighted to announce that Beanie will join the board of The Distillers’ Ventures Limited in the role of Managing Director. Beanie is well known for being an effective and strong business leader with extensive experience that is relevant for our ambition for The Distillers’ One of One, in the world of ultra-rare spirits and its collectors and buyers. We look forward to working with Beanie and our auction partners, Sotheby’s, to build on the successful platform that we have established creating an enduring legacy for the Scotch Whisky industry and Scotland’s young people.”

Grant Gordon, Chairman – The Distillers’ Charity

“I hugely admire what was achieved with the first Distillers One of One Auction in 2021. The spirit of collective endeavour is so strong within the Scotch Whisky industry, and I am immensely excited to be working with friends and colleagues, old and new, to build on the success of 2021 and cement The Distillers One of One as the most exciting and unique rare spirits auction in the world. I look forward to playing my part in making the 2023 Auction, and the ones thereafter, as great as they possibly can be with the help of our industry partners, and to the continued development of this fantastic new charitable platform.”

Beanie Geraedts-Espey

Ginposium brings global industry together again to explore the business of gin in a changing world

After two years of virtual sessions, experts from across the gin industry celebrated getting together again for The Gin Guild’s information-packed networking event, Ginposium.

Held at RSA House in London for the first time since June 2019, the event saw long-established and new gin industry representatives from across the UK mingling with distillers and producers from Australia, India, Estonia, Slovenia and Sicily. Three Past Masters were in attendance: Christopher Hayman, Charles Maxwell (who also spoke) and Martin Riley.

Speakers focused on key business aspects of gin production from investment to using Artificial Intelligence; understanding legal constraints to health and safety – combined with opportunities to taste the latest innovative gins on the market.

The annual Ginposium is an industry highlight, which ties in with World Gin Day on 11 June and the Junipalooza festival to put gin centre stage.

After a tough two years impacted by Covid-19, there was a real sense of joy among veteran and new participants about being able to meet together and share knowledge and experience.

There is a real willingness and generosity within the gin industry to support new producers and a recognition that the innovation and excitement that keeps bringing new consumers to the category benefits us all.

Pal Gleed, Gin Guild Director General

Speakers included Rachel Sutherland from Warner’s Distillery, Kathy Caton from Brighton Gin, Ben Marston from Puddingstone Distillery, as well as Past master of the WCD, Charles Maxwell on the benefits of contracting-out distilling.

With the Guild’s increasing role in protecting the gin category, Jo Cook, from Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards, gave a vital run-through of the do’s and don’ts of labelling and marketing gin, including gin liqueurs and branding low and no alcohol drinks.

Chris Pitcher, another liveryman, and financial analyst from investment research company Redburn (Europe) Ltd, discussed Ginvestment – exploring post-pandemic recovery, evolving consumer trends and challenges facing the gin industry.

Liveryman Chris Pitcher presenting his interpretation of the latest Gin industry statistics by the IWSR

He highlighted how gin had fared better than many spirits during the on-trade closures of the pandemic and rebounded more quickly, with worldwide gin consumption in 2021 9% above pre-pandemic levels.

A returning highlight of the Ginposium was a tasting of new gins, led by gin specialist and spirits writer David T Smith of Summerfruitcup.

The Distillers’ City Debate 2022

On Tuesday 17th May at Vintners’ Hall, an audience of 120 people attended the 10th City Debate organised by the Worshipful Company of Distillers, and after a two-year hiatus due to covid, were treated to a lively debate addressing the topic: “This House believes that the consumption trends of today’s younger generations will have significant impact on the future shape of the spirits industry”.

The Debate Panel

The debate was ably chaired by Trevor Sterling, who explained that there would be a pre-debate vote on the opinion of the audience, and this showed 73% in favour of the motion, with 27% disagreeing.

Paul Mathew opened the debate, proposing the motion. Paul owns several high-profile bars in London, and also launched his own brand of 0% alcohol aperitifs under the ‘Everleaf’ brand – his key message was “ignore change at your peril”, concluding with the example of the dairy milk industry, with its many alternatives which are now in demand, and readily available.

Tom Warner, founder of Warner Edwards Distillery, then opposed the motion – giving many examples of how the spirits industry was grabbing “the rampant opportunity presented by changing trends”, and his animated speech was built around the firm belief that human nature is driven by the desire to get together, and it is the ‘ritual’ which is important, although the products consumed may change.

Sanjeet Aujla, Beverages Analyst at Credit Suisse, seconding the proposal, homing in on ‘Generation Z’, and the current trends of younger generations living their lives through social media, with the obsession of looking and feeling good, which was one of the key drivers of the growth in lo- and no-alcohol beverages. He quoted that “Gen Z spends 40% less on alcohol than millennials” and questioned whether the spirits industry is able to compete successfully with beer.

Finally, and seconding the opposition, Claire Warner – co-founder of the Æcorn Brand – pointed out that the drinks industry is one of the most creative and innovative industries and yet many have missed the glaring opportunity to use their talents to add greater breadth to the drinks industry. It took an outsider, someone without distilling or drinks knowledge (Ben Branson), to show the industry what they were missing. She commented “imagine how much creative power is sitting in this room!”

There followed a lively Q&A session, facilitated by Trevor, which asked the panellists to comment on many issues, including: “what happens when Gen Z ‘comes of age’ and has more disposable income?” and “shouldn’t the spirits industry be targeting the over 40s, who already have more disposable income?”. The final point – on which all panellists agreed – was that there was a significant risk of misleading (and losing) consumers if poor quality beverage products (alcoholic and 0% alcohol) are allowed to proliferate the market.

The Chairman closed the debate by asking for a show of hands to see whether the speakers had managed to sway opinion, and this showed the ‘team Warner’ had indeed done so, with 48% in favour of the motion and 52% voting AGAINST the motion.

Concluding the formal proceedings, the Master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers – Chris Porter – thanked the Chairman, the speakers and the organisers for a highly successful Debate, and invited everyone to join him for a drink, with products kindly supplied by the speakers. For the first time in the history of the Distillers’ Debate, two-thirds of the drinks served contained no alcohol.

Ian Harris

Distillers to join the City Food & Drink Lecture

Organisers of the City Food Lecture today announce the Worshipful Company of Distillers will become part of the leading food industry event in 2023. They join the seven existing City of London Livery companies involved in agriculture and food: the Worshipful Companies of Bakers, Butchers, Cooks, Farmers, Fishmongers, Fruiterers and Poulters.

From its start, back in 2001, the invitation-only event has always enjoyed a high calibre attendance of 600 plus, with a long list of well known key note speakers that include Ash Amirahmadi, MD Arla Foods, Mel Smith, CEO Ocado.com, Dave Lewis, CEO Tesco, Dominic Blakemore, group chief executive Compass Group, Louise Fresco, the President of the Executive Board, Wageningen University and Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever.

The City Food & Drink Lecture, as it will now be known, brings together industry leaders, academics and liverymen and women at this annual London event in the food industry calendar. It also champions future leaders in the industry, with its Future Generation Forum for university students, as a key part of the event involving its key note speaker and panel members prior to the lecture itself.

The Worshipful Company of Distillers is delighted to be joining The City Food and Drink Lecture. Our aspiration is to be at the heart of the spirits industry. We look forward to working with our seven fellow food liveries to raise the profile of the UK food and drink industry through this prestigious high-profile event.

Trevor Stirling, Chairman of the Industry and Membership Committee WCD

We are really excited that the Company of Distillers are joining what will be the City Food and Drink Lecture as from 2023. They join what we like to think has become a highly important, successful and enjoyable event that is now in its 22nd year. They will bring new ideas and thoughts to this well established event from their sector, which adds a brilliant new dimension.
We’re really looking forward to welcoming them aboard formally in the next few weeks and months. We also plan to announce the 2023 dates and details of who our key note speaker will be for 2023 too.
The aim, is always, to keep the standard of the event very high and combine the history and tradition of the eight Livery organisations involved, along with addressing the really important issues that the agriculture, food and drink sectors face.

John Giles, Chair of the City Food & Drink Lecture

Gin Guild Installs Pal Gleed as Director General

The Gin Guild’s annual dinner and Spring Installation of new members took place in London’s Guildhall on the 5th of May.

In front of an audience which included WCD Master Chris Porter, Upper Warden Chris Searle, Middle Warden Lorne MacKillop and 19 other liverymen, 23 new members were sworn in to join the Gin Guild’s ranks.

Pal Gleed, the incoming Director General of the Gin Guild with Middle Warden Lorne MacKillop

Included in this installation ceremony was the new Director General Pal Gleed, George Maxwell, son of former Master Charles Maxwell, and Dr Abhishek Banik, who all joined the Guild as Rectifiers.

Other installees included multi-award winner Jon Hillgren from Hernö Distillery and Rob Curteis from G&J Distillers.

George Maxwell with Grand Rectifier of the Gin Guild Lesley Gracie, and his father Charles Maxwell

Following the installation ceremony guests enjoyed the legendary Gin Guild bar, which featured founder member gins, and those of new installees, including the Stranger & Sons (of India) collaboration with Four Pillars (of Australia) – the Spice Trade Gin.

 Incoming Director General Pal Gleed with Grand Rectifier Lesley Gracie and outgoing DG Nicholas Cook

After a delicious meal followed a highly entertaining speech by Liveryman Sam Galsworthy, who talked about the many highs and lows of his colourful career, including his infamous run-in with the Court over his initial choice of company names. He is (still) truly sorry.

The surprise for many on the night was the awarding of the Gin Guild’s Lifetime achievement award, its highest honour, to outgoing Director General Nicholas Cook, which was bestowed upon him by fellow Liveryman and Gin Guild Chairman Christopher Hayman following his decade in the role. Nicholas is only the 5th person to receive this accolade.

Christopher Hayman gives Nicholas Cook’s Lifetime Achievement award announcement

Following an excellent speech from Christopher Hayman and a thank you response from Nicholas, the audience rose to their feet to give him a standing ovation, which was then followed by a rousing “Three cheers!” A good night was had by all.

Sam Galsworthy, Sipsmith Co-founder gave the after dinner speech
All 23 Installees to the Gin Guild in Spring 2022

For a full list of all Gin Guild installations, please click here.

Alice Pearson awarded IBD Bursary

In the traditional world of distilling it is not often that you meet a young person so deeply and enthusiastically committing themselves to this craft. But things are changing, the gin world has changed dramatically over the last ten years and now things are really happening in the new wave of whisky distilling.

It is with great pleasure therefore that we welcome Alice Pearson of Cotswolds Distillery to our Worshipful Company with a bursary to undertake the three-year course for the Diploma in Distilling at the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in London.

Alice Pearson

This is a major commitment which she is taking on with characteristic enthusiasm and dedication. For the Distillers she is one of the first students to receive this award in our new strategy of longer term support for promising young distillers.

Starting as a guide at the distillery Alice is now responsible for new product development as well as cask selection of whisky for maturing, vatting and bottling especially in the premium special releases. She has already been recognised as an “Emerging Talent in Spirits” at the 2021 IWSC awards and congratulated on producing the top English Old Tom Gin.

But to show that her heart is still in the distillery as well as in the tasting room she also has a licence to drive the forklift truck essential for moving around the large vats of high strength spirit. We look forward to helping her with developing her academic and practical skills and hopefully tasting some of her fine new whiskies and gins!

Nicholas Carr