World’s most experienced gin distiller, Beefeater Master Distiller
Desmond Payne, recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2018
London’s very own Desmond Payne, Master Distiller for Beefeater, the world’s leading premium gin, has been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list 2018. A true icon of the drinks world, Desmond has been made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the UK gin industry – an honour which marks the pinnacle of his Golden Jubilee year.
A custodian of James Burrough’s original recipe, Desmond has worked as Master Distiller at the Beefeater Distillery since 1995. Throughout his impressive 50-year tenure in the gin industry, he has contributed his own personal achievements to the Beefeater legacy through innovative creations including the super-premium Beefeater 24 and the ultra-premium Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve.
A local hero in London and a respected gin master around the world, Desmond has been at the forefront of the gin category which has seen exceptional growth including a surge in the popularity of cocktails. His unrivalled expertise has helped to shape gin’s image for a new age by producing award winning flavour profiles. Desmond remains at the centre of the category today, playing an active role in the production of Beefeater under the newly-established, dedicated gin business - The Gin Hub. Formed by Pernod Ricard last year, The Gin Hub is set to drive the growth of three of its iconic gin brands – Beefeater, Plymouth and Seagrams.
Commenting on Desmond’s award is Sophie Gallois, Managing Director of The Gin Hub:
“We are absolutely delighted for Desmond. This honour is a real testament to Desmond’s work and the impact he has made on the industry over the past 50 years. His innovative approach and dedication at Beefeater has made him one of the most loved and respected gin distillers in the business. There’s no doubt the gin industry has changed significantly over the past five decades and yet Desmond’s passion for the craft has remained constant. He has been at the centre of gin’s resurgence and his expansive knowledge and desire to preserve Beefeater’s high standards has helped to ensure the spirit remains at the forefront of the category.”
Desmond Payne, added:
“I am truly honoured to receive this award. It’s a real privilege working at Beefeater and in this industry and to be recognised in this manner is very humbling. I am just thrilled to have been able to witness the remarkable resurgence of this great industry. There have been so many brilliant moments over the years and this industry continues to push the boundaries both in terms of quality and innovation – I’m just delighted to be able to play a part in it.”
Desmond recently headed a report looking into the new golden era of cocktails in which gin was highlighted as a category favoured by bartenders making craft cocktails. In addition, the simple gin and tonic was referenced as being at the centre of demands from ‘gineration X’ helping to recruit new drinkers into the category and drive growth.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
Beefeater is the world’s most awarded gin brand and with its distillery based in the heart of London, it is the only historic dry gin distilled in the capital city, making it a true London spirit. Created by James Burrough in the 19th Century, the iconic Beefeater recipe has remained virtually unchanged and today it is guarded by Beefeater’s Master Distiller, Desmond Payne, the most experienced gin distiller in the world. Beloved by international bartenders for its consistently outstanding quality and classic London dry taste, the Beefeater range consists of Beefeater Dry, the world’s No.1 premium gin thanks to its crisp, clean, well-balanced flavour; Beefeater 24, a super premium gin infused with Japanese and Chinese teas to create a distinctive, complex gin to suit contemporary cocktail culture; and Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve, a hand-crafted, ultra-premium, oak-rested gin, that challenges convention.