Distiller v Churston GC 2021

Distiller v Churston GC 2021

That “The Spirit of Churston” has survived the problems of  past years was readily apparent from the frisson of anticipation, mid morning on Monday 24th May, when golfers from both teams met up again in the Churston clubhouse for coffee and bacon rolls. It certainly did not seem that it was eighteen months since our last match, such was the spontaneous pleasure of renewed encounters emanating from all sides.

The Distillers’ Get Ready for the Match


Despite the possibilities of ever changing national guidelines interfering with plans, it had been decided to go ahead with the fixture and it was so very pleasing that the enthusiasm of our Distillers’ golfers enabled us to raise a full team despite untimely medical matters ruling out stalwarts Graham Franklin and Bruce Hyde, who happily have both vowed they will be back on board next year. Their absence enabled us to welcome three new comers in Bryan Burrough, Ronnie Cox, and James Espey, who were all to contribute substantially to the character and success of the day…


It was James in fact who made an impression with his diligence in researching his correct handicap, to his teams advantage, on a strange course, first from off the yellow tees,  and further when he learnt we were off the whites, which it turned out were in front of the yellows!


Bryan, whose enthusiasm for golf is only matched by his increasing competence, had taken himself for a round with his son at St Andrews in preparation for our match, whilst Ronnie had been forced to forego his international travelling but had enjoyed seeing flowers in his garden he had not witnessed for over thirty years.
Our leading pairs of Mike Campbell and James Espey, won 3 & 2, and Bob Howell and Bryan Burrough, won 4 & 2,  got us off to the very best of starts, and the manager was congratulating himself on his pairings, but as ever Churston were not to be outdone.


Ronnie Cox and Charles Minoprio did well to take their three handicap opponent to the 17th, whilst the ever combative Mike Walpole with Bob Rishworth shook hands on the 16th. Adam Wallis with our annual guest Mike Brown also reached the 17th green whilst Keith Garrard and Allan Westray  were thwarted by their waltzing opponents’ three ball winning their game with a par on  the final hole.
So good matches all as we lost 2 – 4


After an enjoyable all seated drinks reception the traditional “boxing ring” dinner table was replaced by tables of six, and nothing was lost as a result, the splendid meal being complimented by magnums of St Emilion and Cotes du Rhone.


Ronnie Cox provided the highlight of the evening with an amusing whisky tasting tutorial, in which he shared with us a lifetime of experience of the Distilleries of Scotland and markets of the world.


Toasts were drunk all round. John Smith was thanked for all his efforts to ensure the success of the day, and Monday 23rd May was confirmed as next years date.


Ladies have fun


Whilst their menfolk were involved in the above their Ladies were entertained by Jenny Smith and Jane Baldock at Cockington Court  followed by cream teas and a fish supper at a Brixham restaurant
A very good time was had by all!

Keith Garrard June 2021

A Virtual Trip to the Cotswolds

Lockdown can be a long-drawn-out affair, without the usual social gatherings which bring the Livery together. Thankfully, the third of the lockdown trilogy has been punctuated by a series of inspiring virtual distillery visits and spirit tastings. The first, in March, took us to the Hayman’s Distillery, where we were welcomed by Past Master Christopher Hayman. A month later we boarded the Zoom charabanc, expertly guided by The Master, and headed west from Battersea to the Cotswolds, where were greeted by Liveryman Daniel Szor at The Cotswolds Distillery.

The distillery first opened its doors in July 2014 and has become a must-stop on any tour of the Cotswolds. A canny location which attracts thirty million visitors a year, who keep the team in the visitor centre thankfully busy in more normal times and spread word of the whiskies and gins far and wide.

The wonders of technology allowed Daniel to take us on an informative and inspiring tour. “Stood” by the milling machine, he explained the importance of local and traditional foundations. The barley is all sourced from nearby farms and is floor malted at Warminster, Britain’s oldest working maltings. With expansion projects complete, the maturing barrels are being rehoused onsite from their current home in Liverpool; although there was a clear air of trepidation as he contemplated seven years’ worth of production being transported down the M6.

A native New Yorker, Daniel reveals his American heritage in the naming of the stills. We were introduced to Dolly, a copper pot still, who due to the burgeoning success of Cotswolds Dry Gin, is having to work her “nine to five”. Then, turning to the whiskies, we met the wash still Mary, named after the Tina Turner hit “Proud Mary”, and finally the spirits still, Janis, who by then needed no explanation.

We continued to the warehouse and bottling hall. Here, surrounded by ageing spirit, Daniel explained how, in shaping his plans, he sought counsel from the late Dr Jim Swan, whose inspiration and understanding of wood is evident throughout the whiskies. We were also told the wonderful story behind Cask Number One. Filled in September 2014, Daniel’s wife bought it for his birthday “spending money we didn’t have on something we already owned.” But her gift showed great foresight; Daniel proudly explained it was the one part of the distillery he still owned one hundred percent.

Tour complete, we turned to the tasting. As a lively opener, we started with White Pheasant, a new make spirit which introduced us to the fruity notes characteristic of the Cotswolds whiskies. We then embarked upon a flight of single malts: the signature Cotswolds, eloquently described as the perfect breakfast whisky; the Founder’s Choice, award-winning and aged in Daniel’s favourite American oak red wine casks; the Sherry Cask, matured in Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez seasoned casks; and finally, the Peated Cask. 

The last was whisky Daniel never intended to make, the Cotswolds not being famed for peat, but an insatiable curiosity meant he had to give it a go. This reflects the knowledge and passion Daniel has for whisky and which suffused the event. We even learnt of an experimental rye whisky, tucked away in the warehouse, created in collaboration with the nearby Hook Norton Brewery, which is sadly not yet available for general consumption.

Having been tipped off on how to make a short-cut Tom Collins at Hayman’s, Daniel shared with us his solution were any spirits left from the generous measures in the tasting bottles: pour them together into a separate glass to be enjoyed later. As such, we became blenders for the evening, creating our own unique Cotswold solera and learning about the growing popularity of “infinity bottles” among the whisky community.

After the formal proceedings, “breakout rooms” were introduced, worryingly corporate in description, yet delightfully convivial in practice. Screens momentarily went blank and then a smaller gathering of old friends and new acquaintances appeared. We compared tasting notes, unanimous in the quality, divided on a favourite. All too soon, we were ushered back – videos “on” mute buttons “off” – for a lively questions and answer session, as if upstairs in the distillery blending room or the bar at the Vintners’ Hall. 

Of course, Zoom distillery tours are not the same as the real thing. They are different and in some very positive ways. For one, many more of the Livery were able to attend. I did not count the total participants, but it was surely more than would have been feasible on site. Not to mention the journey home from the Cotswolds was a breeze. That said, it was clear many of us were eager to breathe the aromas of fermentation and distillation in the distillery itself. These are harder to replicate online and before the evening was out plans were already afoot once we are unshackled. But, in the same breath, I will miss the excitement that came with the reassuring plod as the beautifully packaged tasting kit dropped through the letterbox. As we all learn new ways of doing things, perhaps hybrid tastings are the future, lead by The Master live, but not unplugged.

The evening closed with resounding Zoom applause and a heartfelt thank you to Daniel and his team for hosting us and providing some wonderful lockdown inspiration.

Chris Pitcher

Liveryman

KARUIZAWA ‘FIVE DECADES’ RAISES £9,800 FOR THE DISTILLERS’ CHARITY

The Distillers’ Charity is thrilled to announce that the bottle of Karuizawa ‘Five Decades’ 1960-2000, generously donated by The Kyoto Distillery raised £9,800.

Karuizawa – Five Decades Cased

The Distillers’ Charity owes a huge debt of thanks to Liverymen David Croll and Marcin Miller.

The story of how two whisky-obsessed friends grew to love Karuizawa is a fascinating one and worth sharing as we celebrate the success of the bottle’s proceeds to the Charity

Marcin first met Japan-based David at the end of the last century when looking for a partner to create a Japanese-language version of Whisky Magazine: the pair set up Number One Drinks Company in 2006 to distribute single malt whisky from smaller distillers, leading to the acquisition of the remaining stocks of Karuizawa. The fact that the purchase took David and Marcin took four years to negotiate tells us all we need to know about the partners’ determination and their love of this unique whisky.

Liverymen Marcin Miller and David Croll

Marcin states “I love the broad-shouldered, intensity of Karuizawa: every time you crack open one of these bottles you’re drinking Japanese liquid history.”

His passion for it is shared by many collectors of such fine and rare product

We were delighted to receive this donation and our grateful thanks, once again, go to David and Marcin, along with Sukhinder, Isabel and all the team at Whisky.Auction, whose Charity platform has facilitated this sale. 

The proceeds will go a long way to enabling The Distillers’ Charity to support our charity partners and The Lord Mayor’s Appeal. 

Thank You

Chris Porter – Upper Warden – May 2021 

Distillers Car Club – No longer in lockdown

Bosham Ahoy

Distillers’ Car Club Taking Pride of Place

When Enzo Ferrari famously said “The fact is I don’t drive just to get from A to B. I enjoy feeling the car’s reactions, becoming part of it”, I am prepared to wager he wasn’t enjoying the feeling as much as we Distillers’ Car Club members were on our recent first post lock-down sortie to the gorgeous south coast. There was something truly liberating and life affirming about being able, at last, to once more fire up the motors and wend our ways through the leafy and beautiful Sussex countryside, and to actually physically meet up with and chat to people, in the flesh, without fear of forgetting to unmute or suffering from a slightly dodgy wifi connection.

Twelve members of the car club met for delicious bacon butties and coffee at the Cricketers in Duncton, just south of Petworth before driving our beautiful cars southwards arriving at Bosham Quay. With blue skies and a good breeze, we then took a brisk and bracing walk around the headland, before a picnic and cleansing ale on the green in front of the Sailing Club. 

Great to know that there is life after lockdown, and if you happen to share a love for friendly camaraderie and driving the open road don’t hesitate to contact Nick Carr at carrnicholas@yahoo.co.uk  to enquire about becoming a member. Next stop, hopefully, a visit to the Aston Martin Heritage Centre, sometime in June, followed by a trip to Champagne, travel restrictions allowing, in September.

Andrew Cox

It’s a Rum Do!

There was nothing odd or strange about this rum do! when members of the Distillers Car Club met with friends and guests for a zoom rum tasting. As we sipped a delicious rum punch, Liveryman, and owner of Cockspur Rum, Steve Wilson, walked us through the history of rum, how it is made, and introduced us to some high-octane cocktails emphasising that this growing category is all about “fun and sun”.  Bob and Ann Russell entered into the fun part by donning colourful Barbadian shirts, while we all sipped on the different varieties of golden rum, ending up with the outstanding Cockspur XO. It was also fun to be joined by the Coachmakers; Simon Diffey, Mark Leaning and Philippa Green, who had previously made us so welcome at their Coachmakers’ Zooms.

Splicing the Mainbrace with Cockspur Rum

Steve was hugely generous by providing samples of all his range free of charge, plus the mixers and garnish, so we could all enjoy this wonderful spirit and also make the famous Rum Mojito. 

A naval tradition order is to “Splice the Mainbrace” which normally means that the crew would receive and extra ration of rum. It is also used to mark a special occasion. So, Richard Watling issued an order to “Splice the Mainbrace” as we toasted the memory of HRH The Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. This was particularly poignant given his long and illustrious career with the Royal Navy and of course its association with Rum. 

Everyone was feeling very mellow at the end of the evening all through the generosity of Steve. Thank you, Steve, here’s to the next one. £345 was donated in gratitude which will go to the Distillers’ Charity.

Andy Napier

Winning in Innovation by Steve Wilson

“Wow … that was absolutely amazing 

“Fascinating Steve …thanks for that ….” 

“An invaluable experience…”

These are just some of the comments from over 60 students who enjoyed a fascinating and illuminating talk delivered on-line by Liveryman Steve Wilson, which was also made available to a large number of students from over 10 countries. 

With over 40 years’ experience leading the creation of some of the world’s best loved spirits spirit brands, many as Global Head of Innovation at IDV/Diageo, who better to share the gift of such knowledge?  Steve has worked on so many famous brands including Baileys, Archers, Malibu, Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Ciroc, Tanqueray and many, many more. The subject of his talk was “Winning in Innovation.”

S
Steve Wilson

This was the final of six guest lectures for students who are currently studying for their degrees: BSc (Hons) Brewing & Distilling, the MSC Brewing & Distilling, and the MSc Brewing & Distilling with Entrepreneurship at Heriot-Watt University. 

The Livery has been working very closely with our educational partners to develop a focused strategy through the Vocational Training and Education Committee. The objective is to ramp up the sharing of knowledge and experience that lies within our Company and pass that on to the next generation of distillers and brand builders.

Steve took the students through “what is takes to identify big ideas” highlighting that “big ideas are born drowning!” giving examples of brands/innovations that were initially rejected such as the i-phone, desk top computer, Baileys, Brew Dog and others.

The lecture further captivated the students with invaluable guidance on how to overcome the many barriers both within organisations and the marketplace. The one one-hour session ended with 45 minutes of lively questions.

This is clearly an area where the Livery adds very significant value to the students of the ICBD, IBD and WSET by providing inspiration and hands-on experience to guide careers. Thank you, Steve.

If any member is interested in sharing their knowledge and supporting the work of the VT&E, please contact Past Master Martin Riley at martinsriley54@gmail.com

Nick Carr

VT E Comms

HMS Montrose Honours the Duke of Edinburgh

When we are next able to raise a glass and toast the Royal Family at one of our dinners it will be a very different and poignant moment as we remember The Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh.

The Royal Navy and our affiliate HMS Montrose paid their respects yesterday, Saturday April 10th at noon, with the thunder of cannon which could be heard from Devonport to Duqm with a 41-Gun salute.

The Sailors don their antiflash gear and join the tribute.

The sailors on HMS Montrose did so from Oman as Commander Irving, Commanding Officer remarked, “It was a great privilege for my Ship’s Company to honour His Royal Highness The Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh by carrying out a 41-Gun Salute today.”

First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin made a fitting tribute on behalf of the Royal Navy, which can be read below.

Sincere Condolences to Her Majesty The Queen

A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO ACQUIRE KARUIZAWA’S ‘FIVE DECADES’

The Worshipful Company of Distillers is excited and proud to present a rare opportunity to acquire a bottle of the legendary Karuizawa Distillery’s Five Decades whisky. This sale has only been possible thanks to the incredible generosity of this donation from Liverymen David Croll and Marcin Miller of the Kyoto Distillery in Japan.

Karuizawa’s ‘five decades’

Karuizawa – Five Decades Cased

A bottle of Karuizawa Five Decades, a single malt made with whiskies distilled between 1960 and 2000. The whiskies were married in an ex-Karuizawa cask before bottling. This intricately engraved bottle was released in 2015 exclusively for Isetan department store and is presented in a lockable presentation box.

Karuizawa was founded in 1955 and was Japan’s smallest whisky distillery. In 1959, it became the first Japanese distillery to export whisky overseas. Karuizawa distillery stopped production in 2000 and closed for good in 2011.

Karuizawa – Five Decades bottle view

Proceeds of the auction will be for The Distillers’ Charity and its ongoing support for the Lord Mayors Appeal, for Future Youth Zone Barking & Dagenham, helping disadvantaged young people in one of London’s most deprived boroughs. https://www.thelordmayorsappeal.org/

A huge debt of thanks is also owed to Sukhinder Singh, Isabel Graham-Yooul and their team at Whisky.Auction for enabling the sale on their Charity Platform.

We are sure that this significant item will stimulate a great deal of interest 

The opportunity to acquire it begins on Sunday May 2nd at https://whisky.auction/charity and is open for bids until Tuesday May 11th

Good Luck … and Thank You ! 

Karuizawa – Five Decades

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

Virtual Tour of Hayman’s Distillery 9th March 2021

Past Master Christopher Hayman

Raising money for charity and hosting events under current circumstances has tested the mettle of both The Master and The Livery this year. However, yet again, and thanks to the efforts of Christopher Hayman we were able to raise a tasty sum for our charity whilst enjoying a glimpse into this state-of-the-art facility.

On Zoom, inevitably, The Master made his introductions, and it became clear that the evening was to be a tale of two Christophers with Past Master Hayman welcoming us into his distillery and Global Brand Ambassador Chris Bryant-Marshall conducting the tour.

Hayman’s Global Brand Ambassador Chris Bryant-Marshall, image taken from Zoom

We were introduced first to Marjorie, Karin and Miranda. The three copper pot stills named after Christopher’s mother, wife and daughter; these are at the heart of what Hayman’s do in producing world class, delicious gins.

Chris then invited us to nose, taste and explore the joys and complexities of the three gins we had been sent in advance of the event. 

We are very much looking forward to being able to visit in person.

We began with the Old Tom Gin. Chris, with a lightness of touch, took us on journey back through history to the days of illicit stills. There was many a gasp (seen, not heard, we were on mute) as we made the connection between the name Old Tom and the ‘Puss and Mew’ cat-shaped vending machine of Gin Lane.

To bring us up-to-date, Chris shared a hack whereby mixing Hayman’s Old Tom with Fever-Tree Sicilian Lemonade makes a quick and delicious Tom Collins.

With the London Dry Gin, the ‘chat’ function on Zoom came to life as Chris invited the group to share the aromas they could detect. Nothing sets off a group of Distillers more than a gentle request to share what they can sense. Chris then shared with us the botanicals used, but it was down to the audience at home to separate the orris from the angelica root in the subtly scented gin.

A great lineup

We finished by sipping the divine Sloe Gin. By now the chat function was becoming more aspirational with Jim Long and Joanne McKerchar, to name only a few, suggesting that champagne or sparkling wine would be the perfect accompaniment to this. Paul Finch suggested adding it to ice cream, a lovely idea.

It was quite the privilege to see inside Hayman’s distillery and we all thank Christopher for his initiative, for organising the event and seeing it through with such aplomb. Moreover, we look forward to being able to make the trip to Balham soon and to share in the hospitality once again, but at closer quarters.

The next on-line event is planned for later this month and is not to be missed. The amazingly energetic, enthusiastic, and learned couple of Anistatia Miller and Liveryman Jared Brown have produced a must-read for all interested in distilling and indeed the WCD. “The Distiller of London” which has been diligently researched and masterfully edited will be vividly brought to life before your very eyes. Not to be missed!