Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Charles Maxwell

Twenty-four industry experts were recently welcomed as new members of The Gin Guild at a gala event held in central London in October 2014, bringing total membership to over 100 – an impressive achievement given that the Guild was formed just three years ago.

Distillers, producers, brand owners, bartenders and experts from across the global gin industry gathered yesterday in the glamorous setting of Mansion House, London, for the anticipated and prestigious autumn Gin Guild Installation.

The event also saw The Gin Guild’s first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award, for dedication to the production and promotion of the highest-quality gin, presented to Charles Maxwell.  Charles’ family has been distilling since the 1680’s, and his knowledge and experience is highly respected around the world.  Charles is a great ambassador of gin and, having started his distilling life in his family company, continues to distil numerous gins at his company, Thames Distillers.

Reflecting the traditions of the trade guilds of the City of London, Grand Rectifier of The Gin Guild, Christopher Hayman, installed new members from across the gin world as they took a solemn oath on joining, before each received a sterling silver badge in the form of a sprig of juniper to signify their membership. Members then attended The Worshipful Company of Distillers Annual Banquet in the famous Egyptian Room at Mansion House.

The event is the fourth installation since The Gin Guild was established by the Worshipful Company of Distillers, bringing together gin distillers and industry leaders involved in the production, promotion, distribution and consumption of gin, in order to promote and encourage excellence in the category.

Nicholas Cook, Director General of the Guild, said: “The Guild is the natural home of gin innovation, including new start-ups, craft distillers and craft distilled gin, and it was a great pleasure to welcome our new members. These came from large companies, craft distillers and others in the trade, including those from the UK, as well as America, Japan and Russia, joining our existing UK and international members. Gin is enjoyed world-wide and the Guild is reaching out internationally.”

The members joining at last night’s installation included JC Iglesias, Global Marketing Director (Gins Portfolio) at Chivas Brothers and Duncan McRae of William Grant & Sons, who both joined as Founder representatives for their respective companies, as well as Martin Riley, Group Chief Marketing Officer for Pernod Ricard, Bob Rishworth, Chairman of Halewood International, and Hisashi Kishi, President of Japan’s Nippon Bartenders Association and the first Japanese bartender to win an international gin competition.

Christopher Hayman, Grand Rectifier of The Gin Guild, and Chairman of Hayman Distillers, commented on the installation: “To welcome so many new members into The Gin Guild is truly inspiring, especially in only our third year. The talent and expertise added to our Guild is continuously growing and the level of new entrants this year is testament to that. We hope they look forward to being part of the Guild, which represents the best of the trade, as entry is strictly for those who uphold the Guild’s values of excellence.”