Virtual Tour of Hayman’s Distillery 9th March 2021

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!


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

20th January 2021: NEW FREEMEN & LIVERYMEN Admitted to the Distillers Livery

At Virtual Ceremonies conducted on 20th January 2021 by the Master, Jonathan Driver and the Wardens, the following received the Freedom of the Company:

Giles Harris DSO OBE
George Rolls
Sir Colin Hampden-White
Karl Mason

At the same virtual Ceremonies conducted on 20th January 2021, the following received the Livery of the Company:

Karen Betts
Henri Sizaret
Duncan Baldwin
James Robertson
Ken Grier
Billy Walker
Ian Taylor
Dr Nick Blazquez .

We welcomed all with a cup of cheer after the formalities.

Virtual Burns’ Night held for Distillers livery members

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us……

When the Bard of Ayrshire, the great Rabbie Burns, penned those immortal words “O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us” I’m not entirely sure he had in mind that the ‘Power’ would be Zoom, and that the ‘giftie’ would be  our ability to see ourselves, and others, on screen in a virtual meeting. But that is exactly how thirty odd Liverymen and their partners came together to celebrate Burns’ Night “lockdown style” this week.

In a hastily arranged ‘Burns in the Kitchen’ event, guests were warmly welcomed by the Master, Jonathan Driver, who had been featured earlier in the day in The Daily Telegraph and was still resplendent in full his ceremonial fur (he tells us he never takes it off,) to a fun hour of chat, toasts, poetry and the odd wee dram – a great way to mark the occasion in these difficult days.

In Scottish accents both genuine (and less so!), and with great aplomb, our respective haggis’ were addressed (IPM Kenny Mackay), Rabbie Burns remembered (The Master), Lassies toasted (Upper Warden Chris Porter), and responses given (Assistant Kirsten Grant Meikle), with technology playing its part admirably. We even had small group chats, almost as if we’d been seated at Vintners’ Hall, talking with the people around us in between speeches.

The highlight of the event has to be a poem from The Juist Past Maister, Kenny Mackay, extolling the virtues of fellowship and camaraderie in these virtual times, in language of which Burns himself would have been proud.

It was a wonderful hour, well organised, well run, well attended and, well, great fun! So well done to Kim and the team who pulled it all together in such short order.

Slàinte Mhath!

Andrew Cox

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.

Grant Gordon awarded OBE in 2021 New Year Honours

Grant Gordon has been awarded OBE in the 2021 New Year Honours for services to philanthropy including during the COVID 19 response.

Grant is chair of Distillers’ Charity committee and has been heavily involved in our charitable fund raising, including in 2020 which produced a record increase due to the generous response from the Livery. A member of the William Grant family, whose company was the first corporate member of the Livery, he lead our efforts to support the Drinks Trust in coming to the help of those in our trade who suffered particular hardship.

Commenting on the award Grant, who is also Founder & Chair of the Childhood Trust, said ‘it is a real honour to receive this Award, which is a testimony to the commitment by the staff, trustees and volunteers at the Childhood Trust who worked tirelessly, from the onset of the crisis, to support London’s most disadvantaged children.’ 

Grant joined the livery in 1996.

Christmas greetings on behalf of the Master & Wardens

In the much loved tradition of great Christmas television, please enjoy our “masterclass” in cocktail making with a festive twist.  Middle Warden Chris Searle does a masterful job of introducing some delicious recipes. I am particularly glad to see the Brandy Alexandre Dumas since it features my favourite author (I’ll be Athos, if you want to know) and Past Master Riley’s rather wonderful Armagnac cask bottling but we also have ideas from many of our famous brands, so do try them at home. 

I would also like to thank Liveryman Aaron Jeewood for shooting and editing the video with great professionalism.

Whilst this is not the Festive Season that we might have expected I wish all of you and your families the very best this Christmas and a Happy (and much better) New Year.  I think we can all raise a glass to that. 

Very best to you all, 

Jonathan Driver


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.