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Gin expert Stephen Kennard dies

Stephen Kennard, consultant at SMJK Consulting and member of The Gin Guild, has died at the age of 56.

Stephen Kennard
Stephen Kennard passed away at the end of last year

The Gin Guild released a statement yesterday (29 January) announcing that Kennard passed away at the end of 2023.

Kennard was a regular judge of The Gin Masters and lent his extensive expertise to other gin competitions including the World Gin Awards and the IWSC.

The Gin Guild’s statement reads: “As a judge, he had cross-category expertise and was known for his ability to quickly and concisely appraise a product. As a chair judge, he was superb at gaining a consensus and preventing judges from getting stuck in circular debate (an absolutely essential quality) all with a trademark style of gentle grace and humour.”

A memorial will be held at 12.15pm on Monday 5 February at Croydon Crematorium. Donations to the British Heart Foundation will be welcomed.

David T Smith, a fellow Gin Masters judge and co-founder of the Craft Distilling Expo, commented: “As a judge, Stephen was a true master of flavour appreciation and could always be relied on to bring an unbiased opinion to pretty much anything, as well as help reconcile any disagreement among the panel – a great asset to any spirits competition. He had a passion for sharing his knowledge of spirits and did so with good grace and humour. As both a colleague and a friend, he will be missed by many.”

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