Our First Virtual Installation Ceremony

Our First Virtual Installation Ceremony

If any proof were required that the Distillers are a resilient Company, undaunted by challenges or technology, then the Installation Ceremony for our new Master surely provided it. 

The Clerk opened the ceremony by stating “The Court is summoned pursuant to the Company’s Charters for the Installation of its Officers for the ensuing year.”

Thereupon Jonathan Driver was called upon to read the oath of office as Master of the Company, and the Outgoing Master Kenny MacKay declared that Jonathan be clothed as Master and be invested with the Badge of Office.  The new Master was then congratulated by Kenny, who was called upon to take the badge of Immediate Past Master and who in turn presented Kathy with the newly created badge of a Past Mistress of the Company. The Master then called upon the outgoing IPM and his wife Nicola to each receive their respective PM badges.

The Clerk then called upon the Wardens Elect to each take their oaths of office. Renter Warden Elect Lorne MacKillop read the Wardens’ oath in full followed by the same declaration from Christopher Searle Middle Warden Elect and Christopher Porter as Upper Warden Elect. The Wardens were then invested individually by the new Master who each took and wore their new badges of office. The Master then presented the Mistress Fiona Driver with her badge of office.

The outgoing IPM read a peroration written by the Father of the Court Charles Minoprio, who unfortunately was unable to attend the Ceremony, in which the achievements of the outgoing Master were praised. Particular reference was made to the strong start to the year and the commitment to Charity and fundraising including the Master’s bike ride from Scotland to London.

In a year of cancellations of Livery events there had been no cancellation in the commitment and effort shown by Kenny, who responded with thanks to the Company for the privilege and honour of having been Master, despite the challenging circumstances. He then asked the new Master to join him in a toast to the health of the Company and that “it may continue to flourish root and branch under his leadership”.

The Clerk then led three cheers for the new Master who closed the proceedings by quoting Tennyson, thanking the Company which he feels is in a strong position to go forward and inviting us all to join him in a drink.


Meet with the Master: Now available on our YouTube Channel

In the current climate of Covid-19 and restrictions on Liverymen gatherings, the Master has kindly given up some of his time to reach out to members via our new YouTube Channel, in the first of a series of interviews to be published. This new ‘digital’ way of staying in touch with members, ensures we preserve our fellowship values and moves the Distillers into a more modern era.

Clive Bairsto, our Development Director sat down to find out the Masters views on the past year and what the future has in store for fellow liverymen at the Worshipful Company of Distillers.

View the full conversation here:

London Recharged: The Lord Mayors Vision for London

The Lord Mayor, Rt.Hon. William Russell, has released a 64 page report, titled London Recharged: Our vision for London in 2025, commissioned by the City of London Corporation to outline the recovery of business in London following Covid-19 and its long-term competitiveness to 2025.

“Our vision for London in 2025 is attainable, but also ambitious. The recommendations outlined in this report are meant to turbo-charge
London’s acceleration into the future and ensure that it can be the
pre-eminent global hub for tech, PS, and FS in years to come. Everyone
has a role to play, and everyone can benefit. London has always been
an innovator. Now is the time for it to shine”.

Click below to access the PDF report:

London Recharged: Our Vision for London in 2025

Queen’s Birthday Honour for Livery member

We are delighted that one of our Liverymen, Commodore James Parkin has been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List where Her Majesty has appointed him as a Commander of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Our warmest congratulations go to James from everyone in the Worshipful Company of Distillers.

New members receive Freedom of the Livery

Duncan Baldwin, James Pennefather and Olivier Nicolai were recently granted the freedom of the livery in another virtual ceremony.

Duncan currently works for Angus Dundee Distillers , James is Regional director for W.Grants and Sons, and Olivier is a city Analyst for Goldman Sachs, advising clients on investments in the spirits industry amongst other responsibilities.

The Master welcomed all three candidates and encouraged them to engage in livery life!

Duncan Baldwin

After graduating from Glasgow University with an MA in Economics and English and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Management Studies, Duncan joined the marketing department of Whitbread, then, England’s third largest brewery. Duncan has spent a lifetime in the drinks industry leading to his current position as Regional Director for Angus Dundee Distillers.

Installation of the Master into the Schiedam Guild of Genever Distillers

The Master in the first international virtual ceremony, received the honour of being installed in the Guild of Genever Distillers based in Schiedam and received a wooden medal of the Golden Glass. The Master participated via Zoom and another new liveryman, Amanda Garnham from BNIC was similarly honoured!

The Guild is an ancient order, set up by the local Jenever Gin Distillers all based in Schiedam , close to Rotterdam harbour. It has a magnificent museum and exists to promote its Gin ( which was originated before the English version ) around the world as Holland were trading their produce globally then. The history shows Jenever being used medicinally in the 1500’s and being taxed as a spirit from 1614. It was also produced in other Dutch cities and in Belgium.

First ever International Installation by Zoom for the Livery!

On July 24th, three new freemen were installed in a virtual ceremony spanning three countries. Martin Brown Jr. and Marshall Farrer were proposed by family member and Court Assistant Garvin Brown, and were dialing in from the US to connect with the Masters and Wardens Committee.

Henri Sizaret who is currently living in Portugal, was the third new freeman, speaking from Oporto, the home of Port wine.

Mr. Martin Brown Jr

Mr. Martin Brown Jr was admitted to the Freedom of the Company on Friday 24th July at a virtual ceremony.

Martin is a cousin of Court Assistant Garvin Brown IV and was educated at Yale. He is an Attorney with Adams & Reese LLP in Nashville, Tennessee and sits on the Board of the family company, Brown Forman (one of our Corporate Affiliates).

Mr. Marshall Farrer

Mr. Marshall Farrer was admitted to the Freedom of the Company on Friday 24th July at a virtual ceremony.

Marshall hails from Louisville, Kentucky and is a first cousin of Court Assistant Garvin Brown IV. He is a fifth generation distiller and part owner of Brown Forman, where he has worked for the past 20 years; he currently sits on the executive Board. He is shortly arriving in the UK to become European President of Brown Forman Europe. 

Monsieur Henri Sizaret

Monsieur Henri Sizaret was admitted to the Freedom of the Company on Friday 24th July at a virtual ceremony.

Henri, who is a French national, studied in Rome and Paris before completing his education at Strathclyde University. Ex Diageo and Symingtons, he is a marketing consultant to the wine and spirits industry, based in Oporto Portugal.

First virtual Installation Ceremony held for new liverymen

The first virtual installation ceremony for new liverymen to be accepted into the company took place last Friday, led by the Master with the Wardens and Clerk in attendance, and the nominees were accompanied by their Court sponsors.

The Oaths to the Livery were supervised by the Clerk, and each candidature in turn read out the investiture, swearing allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen, and obedience to the Master.

Amanda Garnham

Amanda Garnham, sponsored by IPM Martin Riley , has been working for the Bureau National Interproffesioniel de l’Armagnac since 2003, and is their Attache de Presse and Educator. She lives in LaGardere in the Armagnac region.

Sir Roger Gifford

Sir Roger Gifford , sponsored by Brian Morrison, was previously in International Banking, and was Lord Mayor of the City of London in 2012/3. He is already a member of three other livery companies, Musicians, Cord Wainers, and the International Bankers.

Sir Roger took both the Oath as a Freeman, and then as a Liverymen, being already a Freeman of the City of London.

Toby Whittaker

Toby Whittaker, sponsored by Christopher Hayman , is the Founder of  Whittaker’s Gin since 2016, which he runs with his wife on a Farm outside Harrogate. Toby was introduced via the Gin Guild.