Martin Riley – The Grand Rectifier
“I am very honoured to have been elected as Grand Rectifier of the Gin Guild. The position is both ceremonial and advisory, being the nominal Head of the Gin Guild and also a member of the Gin Guild Board. The Gin Guild is proud to have the Worshipful Company of Distillers as its parent. Although only established five years ago, the Gin Guild has almost 200 members, all drawn from the Gin industry, whether as distillers, or those working in the promotion and serving of Gin. It is appropriate that the word Guild derives from the Saxon word “gildan” which means “to pay”. The Gin Guild contributes to the Livery through an annual payment and, in addition, adds to the Charity Fund by donating the proceeds of tastings and presentations.
Nicholas Cook is the full-time Director General, who manages all aspects of the Gin Guild’s activities from membership, communication and the website, to the Guild’s presence at key industry events. There are two installations for new members each year. I was pleased to induct 22 new members as either Wardens or Rectifiers at a ceremony in Mansion House on October 7. The new members swear an oath, whilst holding juniper berries in their hands as symbols of the botanicals used in gin production. A Gin Guild insignia, a sliver sprig of juniper, is presented to each new member, together with a certificate and a glass brick, based on the London brick from which much of the City is constructed, symbolizing the enduring link between London and Gin.
Gin exports from the UK now account for 11% of total spirit exports, with a value in excess of £500 million. As Grand Rectifier, I have presided over the Ginposium event, which takes place once a year and brings together people from the industry to learn from experts in the field of distillation, marketing and mixology. I have also presented the Gin story to interested groups who are thirsty for knowledge about the category and, of course, for the gin and tonic that follows.”