Fake Gin Debate

panel at Haymans Fake Gin discussion

In its 40th year, the Campaign for Real Gin (‘CRG’) is especially pleased to be able to participate in a major initiative advocating Real Gin. September 6th 2018 saw the ‘Call Time on Fake Gin’ debate hosted by Haymans at their beautiful new distillery in Balham. The CRG was represented by Jonathan Jeyes and Robert Gibson.

The origins of CRG go back to a time when gin was fighting its corner against a background of waning interest. Now, of course, issues facing the category are quite different – how to control this ‘runaway train’ and ensure that standards are adhered to, consumers are not deceived, and their interests protected, and that the gin category’s long-term future is not devalued or subverted.

Our write-up of the debate can be read here. In summary, it was decided that enforcement of existing regulation, with some work to clarify the position of certain product categories, and work to help educate consumers, retailers and even producers, should be taken forward.

We’re pleased to say that the Campaign enjoyed a quite unexpected ‘name check’: the Chair concluded the day’s debate by noting that there were a couple of members of The Campaign for Real Gin present, which gave the opportunity for a brief introduction to the Campaign’s history and purpose.

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40th Anniversary Garden Party

Campaign for Real Gin Garden Party Middle Temple gardens 2018

A fine evening in our now customary venue of Middle Temple Gardens was the perfect backdrop for CRG members and friends to gather to celebrate the CRG’s 40th anniversary.

Members were resplendent in their new 40th Anniversary ties. Giles Pugh and Robbie Purdy had delved into the back of their wardrobes and turned up their original 40-year-old models. The evening also featured the unveiling of Roaring Forties, the CRG’s new 40th Anniversary Celebration Gin, the first bottle brought hotfoot from the distillery by Jonathan Jeyes.

Hon Sec Nick Ellis reflected on the 40th Anniversary to date and looked forward to events in the second half of the year including a planned gin tasting, a ‘distilling experience’, and a mooted trip to Lisbon to the ‘RealGin’ distillery. In a change from normal practice, we raised a glass to TWO Fountainheads, Foxdenton the distiller of the new Roaring Forties Gin, and RealGin, in anticipation of our visit!

For the second time, the CRG supported Tanzania Development Trust, a charity which funds community-level projects in the poorest regions of Tanzania. Three of the Campaign’s earliest members, Tony Trace, Jamie Leslie and Bob Gibson, were born in what is now Tanzania. Tony and Bob (the charity’s Treasurer) were very much to the fore; Jamie’s absence was, as ever, marked in Simon Goodfellow’s Absent Friends. Tanzania Development Trust Chair Jonathan Pace gave a passionate speech explaining the work of the Trust and recalling bottom-breaking trips to rural projects on the back of pikipikis (motor bikes). He was joined at the party by TDT officers Janet Chapman and Dan Cook.

Bill Krarup rounded off the speeches by instructing those present on the history of the Nevers and proper etiquette. Consideration had been given to 40 Nevers to mark the special occasion, but in the interests of enabling folks to catch trains home, the decision had been made to adopt the ‘Full Seven’. This is the CRG’s equivalent of the 21-Gun Salute. All present joined in a rousing series of Nevers, though curiously (and probably for the first time) ‘Dead Ants’ were absent. Perhaps, after all, age is bringing wisdom – or dodgy knees.

How Tanzania Development Trust will use the CRG’s Donations

The money raised by the CRG at the Garden Party, and via donations from members, amounted to around £3,000. Most of this has gone towards a project to provide water to three villages in Kishanda Ward, Kagera Region, in the north west of Tanzania. The villages do have access to water through existing springs, but this is then contaminated by open access to animals, clothes and personal washing. By installing concrete supply points, with fencing, spring water will be protected from contamination. Other areas using similar structures in Muleba District report an immediate and dramatic drop in water-borne illnesses like dysentery and giardia. In Kishanda we hope this will improve the health of up to 18,000 people, as well as delivering a number of other knock-on benefits.

water collection point diagram

The cost of the project, over and above local contributions, is around £6,000, and another Trust has committed £4,000, on condition that another donor is found for the remainder. So the fit couldn’t be better! TDT’s Chair Jonathan Pace, who spoke at the CRG meeting, has researched this application as project officer. TDT has also had a positive experience working in Kishanda, previously funding latrines for the village.