The Worshipful Company of Distillers dates its incorporation back to the
14th year of the reign of King Charles I, that is to say, 1638.
The Charter then granted by the Crown conferred upon the Company very extensive powers and important duties in the regulation of the trade of distillers and vinegar makers, and of those engaged in the preparation of artificial and strong waters, and of making beeregar and alegar, in the Cities of London and Westminster, the suburbs and liberties thereof, and within twenty-one miles therefrom.
A subsequent Charter was granted to the Company by King James II, in 1688, con firming its existing rights, privileges, and immunities, and extending the limits of the Company’s jurisdiction to thirty-one miles of the Cities of London and Westminster.
Upon the Act of Parliament 19th Henry VII, certain Acts and Ordinances made by the Company, embodying the provisions of the preceding Charter, were presented to the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal and the Chief Justices of both Benches, for their allowance and confirmation; and the same having been duly allowed by those Judges in the first year of the reign of William and Mary, A.D. 1689, they are now the established and confirmed Bye-Laws by which the proceedings of the Company, in connection with its Charters, are regulated.
The Company possess their Livery under an Order of the Court of Aldermen made on 21St October 1672. In 1774, the Court of Common Council passed an Act imposing a penalty on all who within the City of London, unless free of the Company, should exercise the trades over which the Company had jurisdiction by virtue of its Charters. By that Act it was declared that no person exercising the trade of a distiller or vinegar maker within the City of London, or liberties thereof, should be admitted to the Freedom of the City of or in any Company other than the Company of Distillers, any law or usage to the contrary notwithstanding.
A Grant of Arms, with Supporters, Crest, and Motto, was made to the Company and duly enrolled in the Herald’s College on 18th March, 1638. The description given by the Grant is as follows: Arms - Azure a fess wavy Argent, betweene a Sunn, drawing up a Cloud distilling Dropps of Raine proper and a Distillatorie double armed Or, with two Wormes and Bolt Receivers, Argent. For the Crest - An heime mantled, Gules doubled Argent, and a Torce Argent and Azure. A Barley Garbe, wreathed about with a Vine Branch, bearing Grapes, all proper. The Supporters - A Russe and an Indian Savage in their proper habit. Under all in an Escroll this motto -
“Droppe as Raine, distill as Dewe”