distillate the A Year to Remember

the_distillate_2014_3 29/01/2014 09:55 Page 1 the distillate January 2014 An annual review of the Master’s Year A Year to Remember Auctioned for ...
Author: Wilfred Rich
2 downloads 0 Views 2MB Size
the_distillate_2014_3 29/01/2014 09:55 Page 1

the

distillate

January 2014 An annual review of the Master’s Year

A Year to Remember

Auctioned for £61,000

The Late Lord Mayor, Alderman Sir Roger Gifford and The Master at the Mansion House Banquet

February Dinner

Sir Jackie Stewart, OBE & The Master

From the Immediate Past Master – Brian Morrison I have to admit, that with approximately a week to go before my Installation Dinner, a degree of apprehension was visibly evident as I tackled my forthcoming speech, while the Clerk's office was bombarding me with dietary requests and procedures for the installation. I have to say there were times when I thought, what the hell have I let myself in for? Anyway, with my speech finished, the scene was set. Prior to the Installation Ceremony, the Court appointed Mr Ian Harris and Mr Alex Parker as Assistants; additionally, the Livery was granted to Mr Paul

Finch, Mr Steve Wilson, Mr Gareth Lawrence, Mr Michael Fletcher and the Hon Alex Bruce. At the Ceremony itself, I was installed as Master for the year, along with David Raines as Upper Warden, Allan Cheesman as Middle Warden and Douglas Morton as Renter Warden. At the Dinner attended by some one hundred and sixty diners, a record was set whereby some thirty four bottles of Scottish Whisky (comprising of Glen Garioch Founders Reserve and Bowmore 18 years old) were consumed – not surprisingly, the template was set for a very spirituous year! The toast to

the Guests was proposed by Anthony Mair, a Distiller, Past Master of the Brewers, an "ageing" industry veteran and a London neighbour of mine. He was his usual inimitable self, and somewhat racy! Responding on behalf of the Guests was a friend of some fifty years, Mr Colin Brown, resplendent in his red jacket as a Past Captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. I first of all paid tribute to the Immediate Past Master, Terry Barr, who, despite some scary medical problems at the start of his year, went on to complete a busy and successful tenure.

At the Court Meeting, the following appointments were made: Ms Vanessa Wright as a Steward; Mr Jonathan Orr Ewing and Mr Tim Stanley Clark as Honorary Stewards of the Company. The Livery was granted to Mr Chris Pitcher and to Mr Edward Macey-Dare. Steward Ms Kirsten Meikle proposed the Toast to our Guests using an iPad delicately placed on the Vintners' Swan Lectern – a privilege granted to us by their Master Michael Cox. Mr Bill Macreath, a close friend of mine and a prominent Glasgow lawyer, responded on behalf of the Guests, regaling his audience with anecdotes of life on the Scottish Court Circuit. January 2014

the_distillate_2014_3 29/01/2014 09:55 Page 2

2

Simply Pure Theatre The Great Whisky Auction Charity is always close to the heart of the City and the 109 Livery Companies. Charity encompasses not only the giving to worthy causes, but also the support of education, which in our case includes the WSET, Heriot-Watt University and the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. Whilst compared to some, our charity fund is not large, there has always been the desire and intent to raise the level of the fund with various events and initiatives over the years. So when the now Immediate Past Master, Brian Morrison, announced at the time of his installation, that one of his objectives in his year was to

April Dinner The Court observed a twominute silence in memory of Colonel Geoffrey Churton, MBE, MC, TD, DL, Past Master of the Company and former Father of the Court, who passed away just shortly before his 100th birthday. Past Master Mr Charles Minoprio was officially appointed Father of the Court. The Court granted the Livery to Mr David Gates (previously a Corporate Freeman), Mr Sam Galsworthy and the Reverend Canon David Parrott, our Honorary Chaplain. The Corporate Freedom was granted to Ms Catherine James of Diageo. The Gin Guild kindly provided a spirits bar at the reception, which proved most popular. Proposing the toast to the Guests was Mr Anthony Sykes, a Distiller since 1989 and presently Upper Warden of the Vintners. Given the Vintners were celebrating their 650th anniversary since being granted their Royal Charter, the Master, on behalf of the WCD, presented the Upper Warden with a Quaich, appropriately engraved,commemorating this. Mr Anthony Sykes thanked his fellow Distillers for the wonderful gesture. Lord Lang of Monkton responded on behalf of the Guests, giving us an amusing insight into life spent in the January 2014

higher echelons of political office here in London, and as Secretary of State for Scotland. As this would be my last dinner at Vintners' Hall, I thought a poem by Rabbie Burns best illustrated a Distillers' View of the place: Envy, if thy jaundiced eye, Through this window chance to spy, To thy sorrow thou shalt find, All that's generous, all that's kind, Friendship, Virtue, every grace, Dwelling in this happy place. Looking back on my year, there were three particular events that helped make it so very memorable. Firstly, the Court tour to Scotland in May. Here I should pay my thanks to Jill and Kenny MacKay for all their endeavours, ensuring an interesting and active four days in the West of Scotland, culminating in the Livery Dinner which was held at House for an Art Lover. That particular event will possibly be remembered for all the wrong reasons! The Mansion House Banquet has to be the highlight, especially as the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress were able to be present. In late spring, I had written to the Lord Mayor's office enquiring if he might be free to attend a Distillers' event. Do remember the Lord Mayor, Roger Gifford is a Scot, so

could he be tempted to attend the IWSC tasting, our Mansion House Banquet or the Distillers' Charity Auction? His response was a 'No' to the tasting and the auction, but a 'YES' to the Banquet – a Eureka moment! However, the reply was prefaced with a warning that, should he be required for a National Event, he would not be able to attend. Later, a call from the Mansion House enquiring if I would be wearing the kilt confirmed he would be attending – and in his kilt! Prior to the Banquet, I attended the third Installation of the Gin Guild, where some twenty inductees joined the Guild. Their Gin bar provided welcome refreshment before the evening's activities – indeed, their mixologists provided the Master's Cocktail Bar at the Reception. Attendance by Liverymen and their Guests was significantly up on previous years (to around 240) thanks partly to the Gin Guild and their Guests. Kate, myself, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, the Wardens and principal guests, processed into the Egyptian Hall, where a delicious dinner was served. The London Scottish Regiment provided the pipers who played during the Loving Cup Ceremony (Bruadar Malt Whisky Liqueur, fused

with sloes and honey). The Lord Mayor spoke of his Scottish roots and his duty to help the Scotch Whisky industry wherever he visited. It was a rousing few words. My guest, Professor David Purdie, responded in his particular style, with his command of the English language and history, whilst the guests enjoyed a choice of Croft 91, Auchentoshan Three Wood malt whisky and sloe gin from the Scottish Liqueur Company. My third highlight was, of course the stunning success of the Distillers' Charity Auction evening that raised over £250,000 for our Distillers' Charity. Deserved praise goes to Kenneth MacKay, Jonathan Driver, Damian Riley-Smith, Grant Gordon, Valerie Kohler (Admin) and Kim Lyons on the night. Praise also to David Elswood of Christie’s for his fee waiver and skilled auctioneering. In conclusion, I have enjoyed my year immensely – what an honour, and what fun and happy memories of different events over the last twelve months. The Livery has broadened its appeal and I'm sure "Mr TORS" aka David Raines, your new Master, will take it a stage further. Brian Morrison, Immediate Past Master

the_distillate_2014_3 29/01/2014 09:55 Page 3

3

raise funds for our charity through a whisky auction, we were all enthused. What took us by surprise was his declared target to raise £100,000. To refer to such an objective with scepticism would be unfair to Brian, but let us say it appeared ambitious and optimistic. But little did we know of the determination of the Master and Court Assistant Kenny MacKay to convert an objective into reality. A team was put together to organise and run the auction, which was to be held at the Apothecaries’ Hall in midOctober. Invitations were issued to purchase a most amazing catalogue of some 53 lots of whisky with history, provenance, rarity and outright uniqueness. On October 17th 2013, the

great and the good of the distilling industry, whisky collectors, Liverymen and the curious, attended Apothecaries’ Hall to see if optimism could become reality. We were all greeted by Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, and the Master. Sir Jackie introduced the proceedings and offered the first lot from his personal cellar. The auctioneer, David Ellswood of Christie’s, starting the bidding. Sir Jackie’s bottle set the tone for the evening, raising £1,500. There were a number of single bottle lots, before a lot of 6 bottles of Johnnie Walker Director’s Blend fetched £23,000 and we then realised we were witnessing something very special. Onwards went the auctioneer, with lot 23 – The

1964 “Private Dalmore Collection” – being the next major sale, fetching £28,000. By this time, proceeds were up to £76,000, so perhaps the £100,000 target might be reached after all? Ye of little faith, of course; it was achieved on lot 38, a bottle of Macallan 1946 going for £5,000 and taking the proceeds to £102,000. So where was this all going to finish? Shortly afterwards, the Hazelwood collection of 4 bottles fetched £31,000 and the records tumbled. And then, as we came to the last lot with the total standing at £175,000, a bottle of 1964 Bowmore, commemorating the Morrison family’s first year of ownership of the distillery, came under the hammer. The bottle itself was a bit special too – hand

blown glass, silver neck wrap and enclosed in a Scottish Oak box – and it was to prove to be the star of the day, fetching £61,000 in keenly contested bidding. Simply pure theatre! With the auction complete, the evening had raised over £250,000, leaving the £100,000 target trailing behind. What vision, tenacity, and brilliant organisation to achieve so much! Needless to say, the gathering repaired to the bar to celebrate an evening that will remain forever in the writer’s memory as an experience without equal (and wondering if anyone was ever going to taste the Bowmore 1964 at over £2,000 a nip!). Bob Howell Past Master

Court Trip to Distilleries

Visit to Glengoyne

A huge covey of Past Masters, Wardens and Assistants gathered in the Great Scots Bar at Cameron House on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond on Sunday 12th May. The Master bade everyone welcome as the champagne flowed, and the budget was soon doomed; a feature that continued for the week! Following dinner, the Father of the Court, Charles Minoprio, gave his usual humorous address on local history and tales of the art of distilling. Prompt at 8.45am, the coach departed for Deanston Distillery, a Highland Malt Distillery located

near Doune. Its incarnation as a distillery came about in the late 1960s, having been a cotton mill for over one hundred and eighty years. Its owners over the years have included James Finlay & Co, an East India trading company (tea plantations), Invergordon Distillers and Burn Stewart Distillers, (who were recently taken over by Distell, the South African Wine & Spirits Conglomerate). Ian Macmillan, the Company’s Production Director, and a Distillers’ Liveryman in the making, welcomed us. The guides provided a most interesting and informative tour, and the shop tills

were soon ringing away, especially as Past Master Bob Howell seemed to be stocking up with Black Bottle! The next stop was the Southern Highlands Distillery of Glengoyne, one of two distilleries making whisky in this part of the Highlands, the other being Auchentoshan, just over the hill. Previously owned by Lang Brothers from 1876, it was then bought by Robertson & Baxter in the 1960s (or Edrington as it is now known) who, in turn, sold it to the family firm of Peter J Russell Ltd, aka Ian Macleod Distillers. Peter had previously

stated that he "would never own" a distillery – but no doubt persuaded by his son, Leonard, he acquiesced and the distillery was purchased in 2003. Both père et fils are Distillers' Liverymen and have grasped the challenge of building this single malt brand. The fame of these whiskies lies in the fact that they are unpeated, and the barley is dried by air – never peat! This gives the softness and almost fruity character to the aged malts. After the tour, the group assembled in the Reception House, greeted by Peter and his charming wife Edith, and given most welcome refreshment. The Russells are renowned for their hospitality, and the size of their gin and tonics from their London Hill Gin are legendary! There followed an excellent lunch overlooking the Mill Stream that flows through the Distillery. Much merriment ensued as the Master toasted the Russell Family, recalling early days of trading with them, and presented Peter with a Quaich, suitably inscribed, from the Livery. This followed a photo call from a most buxom photographer whose eye Peter tried to catch, the Quaich was filled many times over, such was the thirst of the travellers. The next day at 11am sharp, (continued overleaf...) January 2014

the_distillate_2014_3 29/01/2014 09:55 Page 4

4 (continued from previous page...) the Court and their ladies departed by coach to Auchentoshan, a distillery that had apparently been something of an after-thought when Stanley P. Morrison Ltd was buying the Bass Charrington Whisky stocks in 1969, such that it became a pawn in the negotiation, and Morrison Bowmore (as it became) then managed to acquire it in 1984. A wonderful addition to the portfolio nonetheless. On arrival (and just to keep us on our toes) we were offered a glass or two of thirst quenching champagne before being treated to a most entertaining and informative tour of the Distillery that is world-famous for its unique "triple distilling" process. The tour was followed by a whisky tasting (by which time we were all experts on colouration – which, as I'm sure all proper Distillers know, is determined by the type of casks in which the whisky is stored – be they Oloroso casks, Bourbon casks or whatever). After an outstanding lunch the Master presented a Quaich to Mike Keiller with grateful thanks from the Livery. Immediate Past Master, Brian Morrison Upper Warden, Allan Cheesman Clerk Of The Court, Edward Macey-Dare

Charity Begins at Home The Livery Charity Fund

Why do we have a charity fund and what does it do? Almost from their earliest times, the livery companies have undertaken the responsibility for the education and training of young people. Our charity fund was initially set up in 1955 by a donation of £250,000 from Distillers Company Limited (DCL). Past Master Sir Reginald Macdonald-Buchanan was a Director of DCL and was the instigator for the Charity Fund. The primary objective of the Fund was for scholarships for members of the Wine trade to learn about Distilling, and members of the Distilling trade to learn about Wine. There was a clause that allowed other charitable giving if it was “impracticable, impossible or inexpedient” to give to the primary objective and it explicitly talked of giving to the Wine & Spirit Trades’ Benevolent Society. Subsequently, in 1963, the Livery approached Reggie MacDonald-Buchanan to agree to widen the remit of the Fund to include City Charities. In recent times, we donated £50,000 to the Wine & Spirit Education Trust to establish the new WSET building. Subsequently, in 2005, an Appeal

HMS Montrose A Once-in-a-lifetime experience

Ships company

January 2014

Committee was set up with the aim of raising funds. An event was agreed, and a dinner which raised £8,044 was held at the Caledonian Club in October 2008,. The Company shared the dinner with Poppy Scotland. In 2010, a Charity Committee was set up to review our charitable fundraising and donations. The committee’s conclusions were that we should focus our donations on education (the original objective of the charity); however, we should continue to give to trade and City-related charities. Our main educational donations are to the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and we also give scholarships for two of their courses. We give a scholarship at the Heriot-Watt International Centre for Brewing and Distilling and two scholarships at the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. Another trade-related donation is to continue to support the Wine & Spirit Trades' Benevolent Society. Livery companies have been encouraged to support many of the Lord Mayor’s charitable projects. We currently split our City donations 50:50 between the Lord Mayor’s Appeal of that year and the Mansion House

Scholarship Scheme (scholarships to overseas students to undertake short training courses in the City and Master’s Degrees in UK universities). We donate to two other City-related charities: the Sheriff & Recorders Fund (which makes grants to people who have been in prison) and the City & Guilds (which makes vocational awards). It is interesting to note that new Livery Companies have to start with a Charity Fund of £300,000. Our own Charity Fund is valued at only around £400,000 and is managed by Cazenove Capital Management. In general, our donations come out of the income of the Charity Fund. If we are to increase the donations we make as a Livery, we clearly need to continue to grow our Charity Fund. I hope that all Liverymen will continue to donate annually to the Distillers’ Company Charity Fund as a way of supporting our trade and the City. Liverymen might also consider giving legacies in their wills.

I had in the past seen that our Livery Company had a connection with HMS Montrose, but hadn’t thought an awful lot about it until I read Douglas Morton’s piece in last autumn’s edition of the Distillate. Soon after reading that article, I was made aware that there were opportunities to visit the ship and indeed spend some days on board. So, without further ado, I “volunteered”, and so found myself on a wet Sunday evening at the end of July being welcomed on board by the Commanding Officer – Commander James Parkin who, apart from being the liaison officer between the ship and the Livery, is also the Marine Engineer Officer (MEO). The ship came to life first thing on Monday morning, with a call of “all hands” at 5:30 in readiness to leave Devonport Dockyard via Plymouth Sound and into the channel. I had the privilege of being on the bridge during this

time, but also the even greater privilege of having a running commentary from Commander James Parkin on the historical points of interest of the old naval dockyards which line the Devon side of the River Tamar, as well as issues relating to safely navigating a passage through the Sound. Whilst I am sure that all departments were getting “ship shape”, the sailing objective was to ensure that the magnetic signature of the ship was such that, should it pass over any magnetic mines, they would be misled into thinking that it was not a war ship or a threat, and consequently not detonate. Additionally, sensors on the seabed were able to record how a submarine might pick up the sound profile of HMS Montrose, or presumably not pick it up at all. During my days on board, I had the opportunity to visit all parts of the ship, meet all the officers and

Bryan Burrough Liverymen

the_distillate_2014_3 29/01/2014 09:55 Page 5

5

702 Naval Air Squadron Motto: Cave Ungues Felis – Beware the Claws of the Cat!

The Master & LAET Sally Higgins

It is not often that the Livery starts a new affiliation with a new part of the armed services; in fact, the last time this happened was in 1994, when we came to an agreement with HMS Montrose through the good offices of a bright young Liveryman by the name of Commander David Raines. Nearly twenty years later,

we are very proud to have a new association, this time with 702 Naval Air Squadron based at HMS Heron, Yeovilton, a happy event not entirely unconnected with our incoming Master’s time as an observer in the Fleet Air Arm in the early days of his Naval career. The Squadron has a

crew and generally get a feeling of how around 200 people live and work together for long periods of time. My tour started with a comprehensive safety briefing ("avoid pressing red buttons that say "fire"!). Seriously though, safety and crew welfare are obviously priorities on board. However I cannot miss the opportunity of saying, at least in my limited experience, how excellent I found the food. There is one central galley serving all ranks and, on more than one occasion, I was told that the budget per head to feed the crew is currently £2.58 a day, which by all accounts is less than the police have to feed their dogs and the prison authorities have to feed their prisoners. I can only assume, therefore, that police dogs and prisoners eat exceedingly well, as I certainly had no complaints on board. For those interested in things

mechanical, the engine room is a must. It’s here that four V12 Rolls Royce diesel engines power the electric motors which drive the ship, along with two Rolls Royce Spey Turbines which, if all used together, propel the ship to just short of 30 knots. The engine room (or “the spaces”, as the room seems to be known) also houses the air conditioning units, the stabilising units, and a fresh water reverse osmosis unit that produces 40 tonnes of fresh water a day. Finally, I found that, without exception, everyone on board was exceedingly helpful, courteous and totally professional. I cannot praise the Commander, his officers and crew too highly; if this Type 23 Frigate is typical of the rest of the Royal Navy, then our maritime defence is safe in their hands. A once-in-alifetime experience! Bob Rishworth, Liverymen

compliment of around 160 aircrew and maintainers, and trains in excess of 8 aircrew and 115 maintainers annually, many of whom go on to front line service with 815 Squadron on board Navy ships, protecting our sea lanes on counter-piracy and anti-terrorism duties. It is also the home of the award-winning Black Cats – the Royal Navy’s official helicopter display team. The solo display team performs at air shows throughout the country, over the summer display season. Founded in 1936 to operate aircraft from the ships of the British 2nd Battle Squadron, the Squadron initially operated Supermarine Walrus and Fairey Seal aircraft; these were later replaced by Fairey Swordfish float-planes and Seafoxes, seeing service catapulted from Armed Merchant Cruisers for much of WW2. In 1949, the squadron reformed at RNAS Culdrose as the Naval Jet Evaluation Training Unit. It became the first unit to fly the Gloster Meteor and achieve jet landings at night on a carrier. Re-formed again in 1978, 702 now operates Westland Lynx HAS3 and HMA8 Helicopters. The CO Commander Anthony Rimington was quick to get the affiliation going, and the Wings Parade in March of 2013 saw the inauguration of the Distillers'

Prize, which will be awarded twice per year to the outstanding Leading Air Engineering Technician. Achieving this status is an arduous process, requiring much practice and formal learning. The training contributes significantly to the achievement of an external engineering degree, but LAETs have just six months to qualify with the Squadron, during which they must submit engineering scenario assessments and undergo the rigours of two oral boards. Once qualified, they will sign off aircraft as fit to fly and fight – a very significant responsibility, especially with the frequent changes to aviation policy – emerging as skilled engineers who are safe to carry out tasks anywhere in the world, often at sea in very challenging conditions. Our first two winners, Emma Janowski and Sally Higgins, thoroughly deserved to be awarded the Distillers' Quaich and are proving to be fine ambassadors of their Squadron and the Fleet Air Arm as a whole. The affiliation is managed by Richard Watling, supported by Liveryman Peter Mackay, who are planning a number of joint events during the year including, we hope, a Livery visit to the Squadron in the summer. Richard Watling, Renter Warden

HMS Montrose leaving port

January 2014

the_distillate_2014_3 29/01/2014 09:56 Page 6

6

2013 Golf Report As with all seasons, there were highs and lows, but the undoubted highlight of this (and many past seasons) was our emerging triumphant in the Ray Jeff’s Inter Livery Cup. Well done to the team of Paul Varney, Robert Hobson, Paul Hobson and Mike Walpole. Other highlights and a few lowlights of the year were:• The Icicles Golf won by Geoffrey Bush, with 33 points. • Christopher Carson winning the Budge Brooks Shield with 38 points. • Beating the Vintners 5 –1. Joy all round! • Loosing to the Brewers, again (!) 2-3. • Another great two-day mini tour to Devon. • Losing to Churston GC and Woodbury Park GC. • Failing to enter a side for the

Prince Arthur Cup. • A record number of 47 entered the KO competition, and all matches were enjoyed. • In the KO, Mike Keiller was the winner, with Chris Porter the runner up at Sunningdale; both took some notable scalps on their way to the final. • At Wentworth, Paul Hobson won the Plate against Christopher Carson. • A jolly turn out for our Icicle golf and lunch at Foxhills, with President Keith Garrard leading the field home (to everyone’s surprise!). • Most golfers looked much smarter in their new Livery sweaters and polo shirts. • We even have our own logo on our golf balls! • Graham Franklin’s administration was, again, second to none, and was appreciated by golfers and non-players alike.

The Science and Commerce of Whisky As Liverymen will know, whisky has never been in better shape. New distillation capacity is being added at a record pace, and new consumers in new markets are entering the arena. Distillers are experimenting with new finishes, packaging and marketing techniques and, amongst consumers there is a hunger for knowledge and informed commentary. So, well known writer Ian Buxton and Professor Paul S Hughes (Heriot-Watt University), both Liverymen, have collaborated on an important new book. Copies are available now from the RSC website, Amazon UK and good bookshops.

Keith Garrard, Past Master and Golf President

Ian Buxton, Paul S Hughes

Wine Spirit Education Trust Paul Hobson, Paul Varney, Robert Hobson, Mike Walpole. Winners of the Ray Jeff’s Cup

Mike Keiller, The Master, Chris Porter. Distillers’ Knockout finalists

Distillers Plate Finalists (Paul Hobson winner left)

New Liverymen Following the great success of the new Liverymen’s evening introduced a few years ago, it was decided to hold another one in May 2013. With so much happening in the Livery, the Master and Wardens thought it was a good opportunity to update new liverymen on the latest news, as well as provide an occasion for a social gathering within the Livery calendar. Due to the generosity of Liveryman Jonathan Orr Ewing, this event was held in a private room at the Carlton Club in January 2014

London’s St James's, where everyone enjoyed a convivial supper while learning about our affiliations, educational status within the WSET, the Gin Guild progress and our various sporting activities. The event was, in the end, not restricted to new Liverymen, and proved a very entertaining evening. The Liverymen’s evening will be repeated in 2014 and the date for your diary is June 25th at the Carlton Club, St James’s. Allan Cheesman Upper Warden

The Master, Craig Harper & Jancis Robinson MW, OBE

2013 has been an excellent year for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, with student numbers growing by 12% globally over the previous year. In the past 12 months, 48,434 people sat for a WSET qualification in 62 countries – a far cry from the early days in 1969, when the WSET was founded to only serve a burgeoning UK wine and spirit trade. The Worshipful Company of Distillers should feel proud to have been one of the four founding organisations 44 years ago, and the first Trustee nominated by the Distillers – the Clerk, Bruce Dehn – would no

doubt have been staggered by the growth since those early days. Asia is now the biggest region for WSET qualifications, with Greater China now challenging the UK as the biggest provider of students. Next comes the USA, and it was here that WSET launched its first event for Diploma graduates in New York on 13th October, with the Honorary President Jancis Robinson OBE MW attracting a packed house for an event hosted by WSET Chief Executive (and Court Assistant) Ian Harris and David Wrigley MW, WSET’s Global Communications Director.

the_distillate_2014_3 29/01/2014 09:56 Page 7

7

Gin: A Tortuous History with a Brilliant Future?

The 2013 Distillers' City Debate was held on 2nd May at the old Prudential building in Holborn, with the facilities generously provided by J.P. Morgan Cazenove. The inaugural Distillers’ Debate (on the topical subject of China) had taken place in 2012 and, when deciding the topic for 2013, Gin was the natural choice of subject, tying in with the recent launch of the Gin Guild. The event – chaired by the Master – was a great success, with an attendance of nearly 200 people drawn from the City of London, other Livery Companies, representatives of the spirits industry and some key journalists. The first speaker, tackling the subject of Gin’s tortuous history, was Tom Sandham, a selfconfessed Ginophile, and author of the World's Best Cocktails. He was also the co-creator of the acclaimed piece of comedy theatre “The Thinking Drinker's

Guide to Alcohol”, which had been performed at the Edinburgh Festival and in the West End. Tom covered a whistle-stop tour through the history of gin, from the infamous ‘Gin Lane’ by through to the Hogarth, resurgence of the cocktail age, and setting the scene for the next two speakers (Ed Pilkington of Diageo and Maurice Doyle of William Grant & Sons), who debated the question: “Is the resurgence of gin driven by the sharpening of the values of established global brands or by a fascination with idiosyncrasy and craft?” Both used their respective corporate brands (Tanqueray and Hendricks) to illustrate their opinions. The final speaker was Trevor Stirling, an industry analyst who had spent most of his working life in beverage alcohol, and was now working for the U.S. stockbroker Sanford C Bernstein as their European Beverages analyst.

Between them, the speakers provided an interesting and entertaining evening, and the audience then had the opportunity to taste 13 different gins which had been donated for the evening, after which many repaired to the City of London Distillery for a supper organised by the Gin Guild. The Master very kindly entertained the speakers (and the

stand-in organiser Ian Harris) to supper at the Cinnamon Club, at which future potential topics were discussed. A glass of Pampero Anniversario rum was raised to toast the success of the Distillers’ City Debate, and therefore it is no coincidence that the topic of the 2014 Debate should be focused on rum! Ian Harris, Liverymen

375th Anniversary Banquet to Celebrate the Granting of 1st Charters to the Glaziers, Horners, Glovers, Distillers and Gunmakers’ Companies

Jancis Robinson MW, OBE

On a snowy January evening in London Jancis also presided over the WSET Awards and Graduation Ceremony in the Guildhall, in the company of over 500 people, at which the Master presented the two Worshipful Company of Distillers’ Scholarships, Ian Harris WSET CEO

On a blistering summer's day in July, 300 Liverymen and guests from five Livery Companies joined together for a Reception and Dinner in the Middle Temple to celebrate the granting of their first charters in 1638 from His Majesty King Charles the First. The event started with a Nyetimber and Pimms Reception in the Gardens, during which there was an impressive demonstration by the Pikemen of the HAC; the five Masters took the salute. This was followed by a 3-course Banquet in the Hall itself, which boasts the finest double hammer-beamed roof in the country and is also home to a famous portrait of King Charles the First on horse-

back, from the studio of Van Dyke. The principal speakers were our very own Past Master Charles Minoprio (who provided a fascinating historical perspective), and Sir David Brewer, the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London and a former Lord Mayor of London (who provided a City perspective). The principal guests were Lord Clarke, former Treasurer of the Middle Temple and a Justice of the Supreme Court, and Lady Clarke (both old friends of Past Master Terry Barr). At the end of the dinner, there was a musical interlude from The Little Baroque Company who, wearing Stuart dress, performed music of the period on period instruments. Their reper-

toire included: Davenant’s “Britanocles the Great and Good Appears”, “Galatea’s song - So Well Britanocles o’er Seas Doth Reign”, and “The Valediction – Wise Nature”, which were all performed on Twelfth Night in the Banqueting Room at Whitehall in 1638; as well as some madrigals from the same period by Lawes, and an instrumental work by Locke. They also accompanied us during the singing of The National Anthem and "Here's A Health Unto His Majesty". All in all, a very memorable evening, and one which I hope we can emulate when our quad-centenary comes around.

January 2014

the_distillate_2014_3 29/01/2014 09:56 Page 8

8

The Banqueting Hall Ceiling at Vintners Hall The Banqueting Hall ceiling at Vintners Hall is now painted in a stunning new colour scheme, replacing the ugly, dirty and rather tired paintwork that had been there since 1969. The new ceiling is an investment for the future, as well as a highly appropriate way to mark the Company’s 650th Anniversary. Tim Dolby, creative Director of Dolby & Taylor Ltd, a specialist redecoration and sensitive conservation company, designed the new ceiling. Dolby & Taylor already carried out had smaller-scale work at the Hall, such as the ceiling of the Drawing Room Annexe. The new ceiling shows the ceiling ‘flats’ in pale blue, and decorated with a pattern of Vintners’ barrels in gold, arranged in sets of three, as on the Company’s coat of arms. This gives a pleasing ‘Star Chamber’ effect. The plaster moldings are in ochre and gilding. The heraldic shields are unchanged, though they have been cleaned and their settings repainted and partially gilded. The overall design is intended to echo the colour scheme of the ceiling as it was in the late 19th century. This was by Crace. This too had pale blue flats, but with gold stars. Crace’s work had to be removed in 1932 because of Death Watch Beetle. It was replaced by the present ceiling, in a completely new design based on the Old School Room at Winchester College. This 1932 ceiling was painted plain white, except for the shields, until 1969. Other works were carried out at the same time to make the Banqueting Hall look really splendid. The walls were repainted; the architraves of the windows were picked out so as to imitate Portland Stone; the balustrade of the Minstrels’ Gallery was repainted and regilded; and new specialist lighting was installed, and much old and untidy wiring cleared away. The new lighting provides spot illumination onto particular features, such as the Five Kings plaque and the Sword Rest. It also allows different overall

The Chaplain’s Challenge To remain invisible!

Reverand Canon David Parrott

Vintners Hall

lighting effects to be created at different stages in a Company dinner, though the controls seem to require a certain amount of practice! In addition, the chandeliers have been dismantled, taken off-site, cleaned, rewired and rebuilt; the cloth hangings to the chandeliers have been cleaned; and the banners have been lightly cleaned using damp blotting paper, because they are so fragile. The overall effect is lovely. The Company can be very proud of its new Banqueting Hall. Stephen Freeth, Company Archivist Worshipful Company of Vintners

I have the privilege to be Chaplain to a number of Livery Companies in the City including my mother Company, the Worshipful Company of Distillers. I am also Chaplain to the City of London Corporation includes Guildhall, (which Mansion House and the Old Bailey), and in this current year Chaplain to the Lord Mayor. The role of the Livery Company Chaplain is an odd one! It involves a number of elements. I say grace at Company dinners. I seek to support the Master and Wardens and staff of the Company. I lead the Annual Carol Service, and other services for some companies: installation services and celebrations of various sorts. I am also available to take weddings or memorial services for any member of the Company who wishes to come to St Lawrence Jewry. I seek to be a friend to any Liveryman in need at any time. But my real work, or at least my most important work, is to be invisible! It is to be available to any member of the Company

The Navy’s in town

2014 Master and Wardens

who would find it helpful to have a private conversation. You will not find a report anywhere as to who has seen me and what they wanted. That is the nature of the role and that is why I describe it as invisible! At the most important moment in the Chaplain’s life I need to be the invisible man. This may sound an odd challenge, given that at grace and in services I have such a high profile. But that is the mystery of the role. To be visible enough that people know who I am and where to find me, but to be invisible when they do find me. It is a privilege I take seriously. In the City there is still a high tradition of Chaplaincy and this needs handing carefully and nurturing. It is a God given gift. St Lawrence Jewry has the by-line: Bringing the light of Christ to the City of London. My ambition is to be Christ-like to you and to each and every person I meet. May God bless you and our Company. Canon David Parrott Honorary Chaplain In an action packed evening in November 2013, the new Master stamped his authority on the proceedings in no uncertain fashion. A former Commander in the Fleet Air Arm, David Raines presided over a Trafalgar Night celebration at his installation dinner. It was a glittering occasion that included musicians from the Royal Marines band, singing and stamping to Rule Britannia, and the famous horn-pipes rattling the timbers of the ancient Vintners Hall. Also on the night Allan Cheesman was appointed Upper Warden, Douglas Morton, Middle Warden and Richard Watling Renter Warden.

For details on any events please contact Assistant Clerk, Kim Lyons at [email protected] or 020 7960 7173 Submit any articles and photographs with captions for forthcoming newsletters to Paul Finch at [email protected] Published by Paragraph Publishing, Damian Riley-Smith, [email protected] January 2014