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A Tribute to Desmond Payne

Written by Gin Foundry

It’s the event we’ve all been counting down to! No, not the return to the School run, the start of conker season nor that feeling of helplessness when you’re never quite sure when the clocks go back for winter… Instead, this week marks Desmond Payne‘s 50th anniversary as a Distiller, and the start of a whole year of celebrations to commemorate the occasion.

To mark this momentous moment, we asked a few distillers, commentators and bartenders to share some anecdotes with us to help shed a light on just what this milestone represents to the Gin category. While making this video we spoke to dozens of industry figures, each of whom spoke of Desmond’s generosity and his relentless joie de vivre. He hasn’t just made great gin for decades, he’s enthused others and shared that passion far and wide. He is genuinely one of the warmest, wittiest, most humble and gregarious people you could ever hope to meet, and it is to the Gin world’s benefit that he has no intentions of stopping, or even slowing down, anytime soon.

From a personal perspective, we’d also like to chime in with some congratulations. Desmond has not only been at the helm of two great bastions of British Gin; he’s been at the forefront of a category that has dipped from its darkest days to the burgeoning, confident and diverse industry that it is now. He hasn’t just maintained the highest of standards - he has innovated new ideas and recipes, incubated and nurtured new brands and helped countless individuals over the years.

The event in question, held at the Ivy Tower Bridge, offered a great view of the Tower of London, home to Beefeater’s namesake Yeoman guards. It was the first of many events over the next 12 months that will see Desmond travel all over the world. If you get a chance, go and meet the legend. Until then, join us in raising a toast. Cheers Desmond!