Distillers' City Debate prepares for London return

Tickets have been released for the sixth annual Distillers’ City Debate on Tuesday 16 May 2017 at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, London.

The Debate will be introduced by Richard Watling, master of the worshipful company of distillers, and chaired by Ian Buxton, liveryman, commentator and author.

The motion: ‘This house believes that innovation is a more effective tool for growth than acquisition in the spirits industry,’ will be spoken for by Diageo’s global head of innovation Michael Ward and Tom Sandham, co-founder of the Thinking Drinkers.

Opposing the motion will be Compass Group chairman and former Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh, and Simon Hales, managing director of European equity research for Barclays Investment Bank.

Ward said: “Innovation blends consumer insight, discipline and flair to ensure leading brands remain vibrant and relevant in a changing consumer landscape, and develops and nurtures the next generation of great brands.”

The debate is expected to attract 200 guests from the spirits industry including analysts and members of the media and after the vote there will be further discussions at the Distillers’ Bar.

Walsh added: “Growth should come from innovation and M&A. The two working together should yield industry leading performance. M&A can speed up infrastructural investment, creating a bigger platform from which to leverage internal innovation.”

Entry to the Distillers’ City Debate is free of charge by pre-booked ticket (email distillerscitydebate@lbmw.com or call 020 7960 7173).

Doors will open at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, London from 6pm and the debate will finish at 7.45pm.