Beefeater master distiller Desmond Payne awarded MBE

3rd January, 2018 by Melita Kiely

Pernod Ricard-owned Beefeater Gin has reason to celebrate after master distiller Desmond Payne was recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2018.


Beefeater master distiller Desmond Payne has been awarded an MBE

Payne, who boasts more than 50 years working in the gin industry, was made a member of the order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the UK gin industry.

The gin veteran has worked as master distiller at the Beefeater Distillery since 1995, creating expressions including Beefeater 24 and Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve.

“I am truly honoured to receive this award,” said Payne. “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.”

Sophie Gallois, managing director of The Gin Hub, founded by Pernod Ricard last year to drive growth of its three gin brands Beefeater, Plymouth and Seagrams, praised Payne for his “innovative approach” to gin distillation and “dedication” at Beefeater.

“This honour is a real testament to Desmond’s work and the impact he has made on the industry over the past 50 years,” Gallois said.

“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.”

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