Bartenders among new members of Gin Guild

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Bartenders are among 27 new members of the Gin Guild which is committed to excellence in gin production and being industry custodians of the spirit.

Jamie Jones has become a “rectifier” of the guild after his work with gin as global bar executive for chef Jason Atherton’s bar and restaurant group The Social Company whose London sites include City Social, Pollen Street Social, Berners Tavern, Sosharu and Social Eating House, home to the Blind Pig bar.

Jamie, who started his bartending career 13 years ago at Amber Lounge in Chester and Knutsford in Cheshire, also won G’Vine’s global Gin Connoisseur Program in 2013. He is pictured left with the guild’s grand rectifier Martin Riley.

Also welcomed as a rectifier was Timothy Ching, head mixologist for Le Comptoir in Hong Kong, who beat bartenders from 31 other countries to win the Beefeater MIXLDN 6 competition this year. Another new rectifier was Patrick Braun, founder of gin bar ilBar at ilBoccone in Konstanz in Germany.

All the new members swore the guild oath, promising to protect the spirit’s quality and production around the world while symbolically holding juniper berries, the key botanical in gin.

Nine brand-owning members were installed in the rank of “warden rectifiers”: Thomas Steinhart from Steinhart Distillery in Nova Scotia, Canada; Xavier Baker from the Isle of Wight Distillery; Jonathan Engels from Crossbill; Stephen Marsh from Pinkster; Peter Martin from Broker’s; Ian McCulloch from Silent Pool; Henric Molin from Spirit of Hven Backafallsbyn AB; Matthew Polli from Three Fingers; Thomas Steinhart from Steinhart Distillery and William Wemyss from Darnley’s Distillery.

Installed as new “warden nominated rectifiers” were: Philip Craig of Crossbill Distilling; Conrad Gauntlett of Isle of Wight Distillery; Emma Hooper of Darnley’s Distillery; Tom Hutchings of Silent Pool Distillers; Robert Nicolle of Three Fingers; Anja Molin of Spirit of Hven; Nick Ravenhall, nominated by ATOM; and Luke Smith of Poetic License.

Also appointed in their own right as rectifiers were Bjoern Hollmuller, brand ambassador for Wild Alps gin; Kate Meehan of gin tour company Shake Rattle and Stir; Charles Rolls, co-founder of Fever-Tree; and Professor Katherine Smart, chief brewer of ABInBev and president of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

The guild also welcomed Eric Sampers, global brand director for English gins at Chivas Brothers, who assumed the rank of “founder warden”. Founder wardens are appointed by the four guild founder companies, Bacardi, Chivas Brothers, Diageo and William Grant & Sons.

Sumaiyah Connolly, international English gins ambassador at Chivas Brothers, and Joanna Segesser, global senior brand manager for gins at Diageo, were installed as “founder-nominated rectifiers”.

New members were installed in the presence of Martin Riley, board chairman Christopher Hayman whose family have been involved in gin distilling since 1863, and guild director general Nicholas Cook.

Martin said: “Gin is a wonderful example of how skills are being developed and employed in the craft of distilling. Innovation and experimentation from a new generation of distillers complements the established skills and experience of those distillers who have been producing exceptional gins for many years.

“This combination of experience, expertise and energy is working together to create a remarkable range of gins which is stimulating unprecedented consumer interest.”

Established five years ago, the guild has its historical roots in the Worshipful Company of Distillers dating back to 1638. Membership is open to a range of gin industry players with various classes from warden rectifiers, who include distillers, producers and brand owners, to rectifiers, who have roles in the production, distribution and marketing of gin, including leading bartenders, journalists, marketing experts and educators.

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