Gin & Genever Chair

Desmond Payne MBE

Desmond's gin career began when he joined Seager Evans & Co, the wine merchants and gin distillers, in 1967. In 1969 Desmond moved on to the Plymouth Gin distillery where he worked his way up to distillery manager.

After a brief stint 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.

Recent highlights include the creation and introduction of Beefeater super premium gin, Beefeater 24, followed by the limited edition, Summer, Winter and London Market variants.


Joanne Moore, G&J Greenall

Lesley Gracie, William Grant & Sons

Anne Jones, Waitrose

Will Lowe, Cambridge Distillers

Jake Burger, Portobello Road Gin

Alex Wolpert, East London Liquor Company

Emma Stokes, Gin Monkey