April-May 2023 | Features

A gin-tastic fellowship

A gin-tastic fellowship

Gin is one of the most popular drinks in the world, and it is also the theme of a Rotary fellowship.

Rotary Fellowships are international groups which share a common passion. Being part of a fellowship is a fun way to make friends around the world and one of those is to explore gins of the world.

The fellowship came about after a discussion between a few Rotarians at the Rotary International (RI) Convention in Hamburg in 2019 when it was suggested that gin would be a great way to attract fellowship from around the world.

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On returning home, a survey was undertaken via Facebook to see if there was enough interest from at least 25 supporters from at least five different countries to be able to apply to RI.

The Rotary Fellowship of Gin is one of a number of drinking fellowships which exist within Rotary. The others are beer, palmwine, rum, wine and whisky.

This fellowship has an active Facebook group where we share discoveries and information about gins. We share craft gins from all over the world, gin recipe cocktails, favourite botanicals, how to make a compound gin and how to cook with gin.

We also hold monthly Gintastic meet-ups via Zoom to have fun and learn something about gin. We rotate meeting times so that people in each time zone have the opportunity to participate.

Typically, we have a guest distiller speak about their gin process and products. We also discuss ideas, get insights, and play the occasional game.

Gin comes in so many exotic flavours. My personal favourite is Tanqueray Sevilla, however, with so many standard gins and now so many flavours, the choice is becoming very interesting. I would be surprised if you got many similar answers if a survey was carried out among all the membership.

We held our first in-person gin fellowship activity at the Rotary International Convention in Houston last year when we enjoyed a sampling of local gin. There are now plans for a repeat in Melbourne this May. This will happen at each future convention.

Rotarians are also people of action who provide service by supporting communities and collaborating internationally on projects.


  • While gin may be the national spirit of England, the spirit originated in Holland.
  • During the Dutch Independence War, gin was given to soldiers and referred to as “Dutch Courage.”
  • The Royal Navy mixed gin with lime juice to prevent scurvy, the lack of vitamin C. This drink would soon be known as the Gimlet.

Since gin production and consumption also depend on clean water, the Rotary Fellowship of Gin also supports clean water, sanitation, and hygiene programmes by raising funds and supporting projects worldwide.

Clean water, sanitation, and hygiene education are basic necessities for a healthy environment and a productive life.

In 2022-23, we are supporting Aquabox with their project to provide clean water filters for Ukraine. A portion of dues goes to projects for clean water, with this being our first. We have so far provided funds to send 60 family water filters.

When people have access to clean water and sanitation, waterborne diseases decrease, children stay healthier and attend school more regularly, and mothers can spend less time carrying water and more time helping their families.

The Rotary Fellowship of Gin is a group dedicated to promoting gin as an opportunity for fellowship.”

Through water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programmes, Rotary’s people of action mobilises resources, forms partnerships, and invests in infrastructure and training which yields long-term change.

This fellowship operates in accordance with RI policy, but is not an agency of, or controlled by RI. Currently we have 84 members drawn from: Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Norway, the Philippines, Portugal, Scotland, Sweden, the United States and Wales. We also have over 500 followers on Facebook.

We have six honorary members: Juliet and Ian Riseley, Suzanne and Holgar Knaack, and Jennifer Jones and Nick Krayacich.

The board consists of six members and we are looking to extend to have regional members who can arrange additional ‘Gintastic’ sessions locally.

The Rotary Fellowship of Gin is one of a number of drinking fellowships which exist within Rotary and has an active Facebook group.

As the group continues to expand and grow, gin fellowship members may want to host regional gin-related events as well.

The Rotary Fellowship of Gin is a group dedicated to promoting gin as an opportunity for fellowship. There is nothing special about gin, it is the same as any other drink – you either like it or you don’t. The aim of the fellowship is to enjoy fellowship with those of similar interests in a topic.

Basically, as for any fellowship, the Gin Fellowship allows for fun, friendship and fellowship. If you take Houston Convention, those attending met up for an evening, had a lot of good fun and banter, whilst enjoying each other’s company with attendees from a number of different countries.

We are hoping to have a booth at Melbourne and will be arranging another fellowship gathering at a gin bar there also.

To find out more about joining, visit the fellowship’s website or email Malcolm Hallewell.


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