On Friday 10th June 2022, the Ginposium was hosted by The Gin Guild at the RSA, London, a beautiful building which made for a very special setting for the day. The Gin Guild kindly me with a press pass

Events of this kind are a prestigious opportunity for distillers to meet, network and watch curated talks covering fascinating topics within the industry. It is a widely renowned and respected event and due to this the list of attendees was impressive to say the least! Getting everyone together made for a bubbling hubbub of banter and ideas. And, with 11 talks and 4 networking sessions crammed into the day, there was a lot of thought provoking material to discuss.

The event opened with a speech from Pal Gleed, who was recently installed as the Director General at the Gin Guild. He has big shoes to fill, the previous Director General Nicholas Cook was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work, during his ten years of service in the position.

That said, Matthew Pauley of Herriot-Watt University took to the stand to share his recent research findings on the sensory understanding of gin, delivering mind boggling science with jovial quips that made it all a little easier to digest. Then, Jo Cook from Buckingham and Surrey Trading Standards brought us up to date with correctly labelling now/low abv gins and liqueurs, essential information to prevent costly mistakes down the line.

Rachel Sutherland of Warners brought us the first tasting of the day, comparing post distillation techniques. It was interesting to compare spirits diluted in different ways (one for example was diluting in one instance after 14 days, or slightly each day up to 14 days) and the difference it makes to the final profile, which is much more than I had anticipated. I would suggest to distillers that it’s worth playing around with this as you may well find an alternative method that delivers a profile you prefer, that really makes the most of your product. If you are looking at this, feel free to get in touch with Rachel, as she is collecting information on various distilleries for her research.

After the first coffee and networking session we returned to the room for the second segment. The wonderful Kathy Caton from Brighton Gin, and Charles Maxwell of Thames Distillery, both discussed routes into a new gin, either distilling yourself or contract distilling. Kathy built Brighton Gin from the ground up and has a wealth of information to share, and Charles is held in the highest of esteem in the industry and has possesses a unique knowledge built over generations. There were very good points made on both sides and humour shared between them that made the talk as entertaining as it was informative.

Chris Pitcher of Redburn then stepped up to discuss the ‘gindustry’, that is gin as a business, delivering insightful facts and figures for over the last decade and what we can expect in the future. Seeing sales mapped out like helped absorb a lot of information! Then our very own David T Smith took to the stage to deliver our second tasting of the day, which included some fantastic offerings like the divine Haymans Exotic Citrus Gin with a beautiful mandarin sweetness and Citadel Cornichon Gin, with just a touch of cornichon which was melded in marital bliss against it’s gin base.

After a delicious lunch and more networking, we returned to the room for the third session, which began with Liam Matthews from The Health And Safety Consultancy Limited, delivering an informative talk on health and safety around distilleries, an essential part of running a distillery, followed by David Pool from Smarter.ai, talking at length about AI and how utilising it to analyse data can revolutionise your business. It is quite remarkable how far this technology has come and the potential applications that can be hugely beneficial.

After the third coffee and networking session, we returned to the room for the final instalment of talks. Ben Marston of Puddingstone Distillery taught us about coriander and it’s complex and varying profile through sample tasting, including his gin, Ultrasonic Gin, made using ultrasonic vibration to extract flavour, meaning that only 40% botanicals are needed. Another included was a fantastic gin called Crossbill, which I have to mention, as it is made with just juniper and rosehip, not a coriander seed in sight! It’s a great gin and it did raise the question of how essential coriander is, especially with the potential supply chain issues resulting from the current global issues of climate and war. Finally, Craig Harper from Fever Tree delivered a well received and enthusiastic talk on the history of Fever Tree, the successes, and how working together will lead to a more lucrative future, a sentiment that I very much believe in.

With the final talk done and dusted, it was time for a tipple with G&T networking to finish the day, kindly provided by Fever Tree. It was great fun to work the room chatting to the crowds…and I certainly managed to squeeze a lot of fun into that last hour and a half! I met all manner of fantastic people who I will certainly be staying in touch with. We’re blessed to have such a vibrant and friendly industry. The way people work together and the support network offered to each other is a wonderful thing. These moments of interaction when sparks are flying in conversation are precious, and any opportunity to bring people together is a good thing. If we have learnt anything in the last few years, it’s important to make the most of that.

Congratulations to The Gin Guild for another fantastic event, these events are essential to the industry and it’s growth. If you’re a Gin Guild member who missed out then don’t worry. The event was recorded and will be available for members in the near future. There will be another event next year…but if you need your fix of talks and face to face networking before that, then check out our Craft Distilling Expo in October at the Old Truman Brewery, London. We have supplier exhibition, talks, panel discussions and masterclasses and networking throughout. You can find out more about that and get tickets here. And my advice would be to move quickly, as we’re running an early bird discount.