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Desmond Payne

Beefeater Gin
Master Distiller

Desmond’s impressive gin career began when he joined Seager Evans & Co, the Wine Merchants and Gin Distillers, in 1967. With his wine and spirit exams under his belt, it was here that he began to develop the tasting and nosing skills that are still so crucial to his work today.

In 1969 Desmond moved on to The Plymouth Gin Distillery where he worked his way up from Assistant Distiller to Assistant Manager and eventually Distillery Manager. Following a short stint working in the Scotch whisky industry, Desmond joined Beefeater as Master Distiller in 1995.

With a passion for continuing the tradition of excellence that was started by Beefeater founder James Burrough in 1820, Desmond is involved in every aspect of the production process from selecting the juniper berries to discussing the latest cocktails with the new generation of bartenders.

Having taken care of Burrough’s secret Beefeater London Dry Gin recipe for so many years, Desmond went on to create his very own masterpiece in 2008, the super premium Beefeater 24. In April 2013, Beefeater released a hand-crafted, ultra premium gin unlike any other, Burrough’s Reserve which was created under the watchful eye of Desmond. Uniquely rested in Jean de Lillet oak barrels, Burrough’s Reserve presents a new experience for those seeking to explore the world of premium quality gin.

Desmond’s hobbies, apart from making gin, tend to centre on food, wine and travel.



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