The Alcohol Education Trust (AET)

Tackling early age drinking

As a Livery, we have committed to support alcohol education. The Alcohol Education Trust has developed a number of new educational tools that deliver important messages about alcohol to teenagers. Since we started to work with the AET in 2013, this charity has made great progress towards their goal of providing young people with knowledge related to alcohol and regarding the dangers of irresponsible drinking. To learn more about the work of the AET, visit their website The story below shows just how that work and your donations are improving the lives of children.

AET Founder and Director Helena Conibear visited the Court in February and gave an insightful presentation on the work that we help support, commenting as follows…“This year you have supported the Alcohol Education Trust with a wonderful project – helping to ensure that some of the most vulnerable children across England learn how to stay safe around alcohol. National research shows that one in five children have some level of special educational needs across Britain, and that children who have learning difficulties are three times more likely to be abused, tragically with alcohol often being used as part of the grooming process.With careful input from special educational needs specialists, the AET completed a complex set of resources for children of mixed abilities.The programme is based around understanding consent and how alcohol can affect decision making, increase vulnerability to others and susceptibility to other risk taking. It is also adapted to be used in a variety of settings, such as small groups or on a one-to-one basis.The Distillers’ Charity’s grant has given us the ability to open doors in hard-to reach areas across Britain that need us most. It has also helped us to negotiate matched funding from local authorities,youth aspiration and safer community funds, ensuring that practical, engaging resources on alcohol education are used in more schools and settings across the UK.”

Tough love parenting

The Isle of Wight conjures up beautiful images of sand, sea, sailing regattas, beach holidays and rolling hills, but you may be surprised to learn that this idyllic island has seven areas that are in the 20% most deprived areas in England. With one in five island children living in poverty, it is in the top 10 areas for under 18 alcohol-related hospital admissions. That is why the Isle of Wight is a focus area for our “Talk about alcohol” programme, in local schools, which encourages teachers to listen and engage with young people about their worries, concerns and pressures around risk-taking and, in particular, drinking. By working holistically within the community, we have been able to concentrate on solutions and alternatives to underage drinking and drunkenness. Your donations have definitely made a difference and changed people’s lives and this work could not continue without the financial help from the Distillers’ Charity. Thank you so much.
Helen Conibear
Director, Alcohol Education Trust

The Benevolent

The Benevolent is the trade charity for people who are working in, or who have worked in, the UK drinks industry. The Distillers’ Charity supports The Benevolent by way of our corporate patronage. In the past few years, The Benevolent has expanded the spectrum and breadth of support provided to colleagues in the UK drinks industry who are in need. The focus of the strategy is to provide more emotional support and to make this a cornerstone of the charitable operations of The Benevolent. A tangible example is Mike’s story.“Mike has always been driven by a passion for the spirits sector, which led him to embark upon his chosen career in bartending. He was fully enjoying his role as a bar manager at one of the most popular cocktail bars in London, when the proprietor decided to dismiss him. Not only was the dismissal unfair and with immediate effect, but Mike was also denied any lump sum for all his unused leave. Mike experienced the emotional distress of being dismissed unfairly and illegally, and also found himself under huge financial strain as the job was his only source of income. Incredibly stressed and genuinely scared, Mike started to feel lost and depressed, not knowing whereto turn.Mike was referred to the Benevolent by a friend, who was also a Benevolent Ambassador, and the trade charity immediately intervened. The organisation funded the fees of Mike’s solicitor in order to take the case to an Employment Tribunal and also provided him with an extra emergency grant to help him back on his feet during this stressful time. The charity has been by his side constantly throughout this journey. Mike realised that he’s not alone – he is aware that The Benevolent is there to lend a helping hand if he faces any future hardships.

Mental health is a crucial topic. The Benevolent, the Drinks Industry Charity, has decided to be part of a social movement aimed at changing the perception of mental health difficulties and advocating for a stigma-free conversation.

Thus The Benevolent is pleased to officially launch the charity’s new mental health awareness campaign #NotAlone. #NotAlone aims to encourage members of the Trade to speak freely about mental health issues within the workplace, creating a stigma-free environment, reminding both employers and employees that The Benevolent is here with professionals at hand who can help you. The campaign is available here:

T complement the launch of the campaign, The Benevolent has commissioned a survey addressed to the current members of the UK drinks industry aimed at outlining current mental health difficulties experienced by members of the UK drinks industry and discovering existing HR policies or practices to support employees with mental health difficulties. The research is run by Wine Intelligence and is available via this link:

The Benevolent team are urging members of the Trade to engage and answer the questionnaire, and to forward the link of the survey to their colleagues, employees and friends within the Trade.

Ross Carter appointed CEO of The Benevolent 

Ross Carter

Ross Carter, who was head of London Wine Fair between 2013 and 2017, has been appointed Chief Executive of The Benevolent, the Drinks Industry Charity.

Carter replaces current CEO Chris Porter.  Since 2017 Carter has headed up the foodservice and hospitality division of exhibition organiser, Fresh Montgomery, where he has led the strategic repositioning of the UK’s longest standing hospitality trade event Hotelympia, now HRC.

During his time at the LWF, Carter successfully moved the national wine trade event back to Olympia, increasing the participation of UK agencies and distributors threefold in the process. Carter also introduced the now well-established Esoterica and Wines Unearthed brands to The Fair, expanding the range of businesses and producers taking part in the event to much acclaim. In 2016 Carter was the recipient of the Julian Brind Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in the wine industry in recognition for the transformative role he played at the LWF. 

Michael Saunders, Chairman of The Benevolent, commented on Carter’s
appointment, “The Board of Trustees and I are delighted to welcome Ross to the role of CEO of The Benevolent and he has our full support as we look to evolve the good work that The Benevolent has continued to do since 1886.”

Commenting on his appointment, Carter said “Being offered the role of CEO of The Benevolent is a privilege and a great honour and I am delighted to have been given this opportunity by the Board of Trustees. I am also grateful for the trust they are placing in me to evolve what is an industry institution and I am eager to bring great energy and enthusiasm to deliver on a mandate to develop the charity.”

David Cox organised  an excellent evening and dinner at Vintners Hall on September 25th  to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Alcohol Education Trust (AET).

Helena Connibear delivered a ‘State of the Nation’ speech, highlighting the progress and impact being made by delivering their message to an increased number of parents, schools and children, especially now in Scotland. Some nice thanks and recognition to the Distillers and our partnership and contribution which has helped make this happen and will continue to do so.

Among those who attended were Geoffrey Bush, Deborah, Baroness Stedman-Scott (guest speaker), Renter Warden Chris Porter, Helena Connibear (CEO, AET), Upper Warden Kenny MacKay and Past Master Charles Maxwell.  The Baroness is currently Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work & Pensions.


Following our recent communication, I want to update you on The Distillers response to the COVID 19 crisis and what you can do to help your Livery and what your Livery...

Read more

Coronavirus : April Court Meeting & Dinner and Forthcoming Events

Dear Liveryman, Coronavirus : April Court Meeting & Dinner and Forthcoming Events It is with great regret that I have to advise you that, in view of the escalating Coronavirus situation...

Read more
Worshipful Company of Distillers Crest

The Worshipful Company of Distillers

The Worshipful Company of Distillers is a Livery Company of the City of London dating back to the reign of King Charles I.

Find out more

Michael Broadbent MW

Michael Broadbent MW, one of the world’s greatest wine trade legends has just passed away at the age of 92. The wine critic, writer and auctioneer died yesterday (17 March) at...

Read more