Beefeater Don, Desmond Payne has said he’s ‘truly honoured’ and ‘humbled’ to receive an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list.
The MBE (that’s Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) has topped off a rather memorable year for Payne as he celebrated half a century in the gin industry.
Payne is, quite rightly, regarded as a drinks legend for his service to the gin industry and creation of bartender-favourite Beefeater 24 and ultra-premium Burrough’s Reserve.
‘People often say that a drink reflects the character of the person who made it, and that’s never more true than with Des,’ Imbibe editor, Chris Losh, said.
‘His gin is as elegant, balanced and unfussily understated as he is. After decades in charge of one of the UK’s best-known brands, he totally deserves this recognition.’
Ever humble, Payne said: ‘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.’
WSET chief exec Ian Harris was also among those honoured this year for his services to the wine and spirits industry. During his tenure, Harris has seen WSET numbers swell from 10,000 in 2002 to 85,000 in 2017. If that isn’t worthy of an MBE, then we don’t know what is.