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Gin Guild celebrates first Canadian member

Thomas Steinhart, from Nova Scotia’s Steinhart Distillery, has become the first Canadian distiller to join the Gin Guild.

Thomas Steinhart (right) is the first Canadian to join The Gin Guild

Steinhart, one of 27 new members to be installed, joins with the rank of ‘warden rectifier’.

The Gin Guild was established in the UK five years ago, and aims to bring together gin distillers and industry leaders to promote and encourage excellence in distillation.

The group builds, which can trace its history back to 1638 via the Worshipful Company of Distillers, now has 225 members and held its first non-UK installation ceremony in the US last month.

New members installed alongside Steinhart include Eric Sampers from Chivas Brothers, who was inducted to the role of founder warden. Founder wardens are selected by the Guild founder companies: Bacardi, Chivas Brothers, Diageo and William Grant & Sons.

Nine brand-owning members also joined: 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; Matthew Polli from Three Fingers; and William Wemyss from Darnley’s Distillery.

New Founder-nominated rectifiers are Sumaiyah Connolly from Chivas Brothers and Joanna Segesser from Diageo, while MIXLDN champion Timothy Ching and Jamie Jones, winner of the Gin Connoiseur Program in 2013, were installed as rectifiers.

Other new members, all warden-nominated rectifiers, include Philip Craig from Crossbill Distilling; Conrad Gauntlett, Isle of Wight Distillery; Emma Hooper, Darnley’s Distillery; Tom Hutchings, Silent Pool Distillers; Robert Nicolle, Three Fingers; Anja Molin, Spirit of Hven; Nick Ravenhall, who was nominated by ATOM; and Luke Smith from Poetic Licence.

All the new members were installed by the Guild’s grand rectifier, Martin Riley, board chairman Christopher Hayman, and guild director general, Nicolas Cook.

They were all required to take an oath promising to protect the spirit’s quality and production around the world, while symbolically holding juniper berries.

“Gin is a wonderful example of how skills are being developed and employed in the craft of distilling,” said Riley.

“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.”

The Gin Guild is preparing for its fourth annual Ginposium set to be held at the RSA House in London on 8 June.

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