Sustainability the key topic at the gin industry’s annual conference

17th January, 2024

Director General of The Gin Guild Pal Gleed with new Grand Rectifier Desmond Payne MBE Master Distiller Emeritus at Beefeater Gin

The Gin Guild has appointed a new Grand Rectifier at its prestigious annual Ginposium, which focused on the sustainability of the gin industry.

London’s Desmond Payne MBE, Master Distiller Emeritus at Beefeater, was announced as the new Guild’s new Grand Rectifier, succeeding Lesley Gracie, Master Distiller of Hendrick’s Gin, when he takes up the post on 20 October 2023 for two years.

More than 120 members from across the globe attended the event, where Guild members share experiences and latest thinking in producing, promoting and celebrating gin internationally.

Pal Gleed, Director General of The Gin Guild, said:

Clearly sustainability is at the forefront of many members’ thinking and the coming year will see a focus for The Gin Guild to work with members to develop and demonstrate their approaches even further.

“The gin industry is extremely vibrant and fast moving and it is exciting to see members turn their dynamism to this globally important subject.

“We also announced plans to lead a project to help establish a model ‘gincentric’ sustainability strategy for members, taking in both the latest thoughts from the global sustainability movement, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and benefitting from expertise within The Gin Guild membership internationally.”

Highlights of the event included a keynote presentation by Sandrine Ricard, Deputy Director Sustainability and Responsibility for Pernod Ricard in the UK alongside specialist presentations on sustainable bottling and packaging from members Allied Glass and Atom Brands, as well as a Q&A between Guild Chair Christopher Hayman and Desmond  Payne, who shared insights from his 55 years in the industry.

Desmond Payne MBE, the 6th Grand Rectifier of the Gin GuildDesmond, who has previously received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Guild, said:

The Gin Guild has been instrumental in guiding and protecting this splendid and rapidly expanding spirit, and it has  also given us all the opportunity to get to know each other and enjoy the fruits of our labours.

“To be nominated Grand Rectifier is a great honour and I am looking forward to taking up the position later this year.”

Analyst Chris Pitcher, from equity research group Redburn, returned to interpret the latest gin industry global sales statistics and Keli Rivers from Sipsmith discussed the rise and rise of the Martini, while Assistant Professor Matthew Pauley from Heriot Watt University provided an update on The Gin Guild sponsored research into juniper profiling.

Chris Pitcher said:

Gin has enjoyed phenomenal growth over the last ten years and has become one of the most widely consumed spirits globally.

The cycle may have turned in some key markets, but others are picking up the slack with a variety of new trends helping further support the trajectory of the post-pandemic recovery.”

The Ginposium also provided an opportunity to discover the latest Asian gins, as well as samples considering the use of salt in gin. Event favourite David T Smith returned with a tutored tasting of what is new and a retro revival.

Throughout the years, The Gin Guild has fostered collaboration, education, and innovation among its members, championing the artistry and heritage of gin production, with all sessions from previous Ginposium events available on the Guild website’s Ginopedia.

Earlier this year, The Gin Guild welcomed its 450th member at its 10 annual gin industry dinner at London’s historic Guildhall.

To mark The Gin Guild’s 10th anniversary, the organisation will be undertaking research amongst its membership to help shape its strategy for the next 10 years after growth from 4 to 450 members from over 20 nations in its first 10 years.