September 26, 2006 08:00 PM

MOUNT VERNON, VA – His Royal Highness, The Duke of York bestowed medals and honored new inductees of the George Washington Spirits Society during an evening industry heritage celebration at Historic Mount Vernon, the Distilled Spirits Council announced.

The 2006 Inductees are: Paul S. Walsh, Chief Executive of Diageo, plc.; William Goldring, Chairman of the Republic Beverage Company; Marvin R. Shanken, Chairman of M. Shanken Communications, Inc.; and Sidney E. Frank, founder and former Chairman of Sidney Frank Importing Co., Inc. (posthumous award presented to his daughter, Cathy Halstead and nephew, John Frank).

“We are delighted to have His Royal Highness join us at George Washington’s historic home to honor these four exemplary individuals,” said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter Cressy. “The George Washington Spirits Society recognizes distinguished individuals who best exemplify the outstanding qualities exhibited by our nation’s first President in his life, his business enterprises, and his service to his country.”

The honorees were inducted into the George Washington Spirits Society, which was created in 2002, during a special reception and dinner at Mount Vernon hosted by the Distilled Spirits Council and the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America.  Attended by more than 700 guests including legislators, industry leaders and the media, the evening raised more than $225,000 to support the educational programs of Historic Mount Vernon.

The highlight of the event was a special tasting and auction of commemorative bottles of both George Washington’s Distillery Vatted American Whiskey – a blend of America’s best-known Bourbons and whiskeys, vatted, aged and hand-bottled on the grounds of Mount Vernon; and, George Washington’s Distillery Straight Rye Whiskey – made from George Washington’s recipe for the first time since 1799.

Each honoree was inducted as “Guardian of His Spirit” and presented a medal created by the world-renowned Lenox designers. The medals, made through an antique process using burnished silver over pewter, featured an image of George Washington with the words “Heritage, Responsibility and Integrity” on one side and a replica of George Washington’s copper pot still on the other side.

The inductees were selected by the Board of Trustees of the George Washington Spirits Society, which is made up of representatives of America’s leading distillers and Historic Mount Vernon.


Paul Walsh, Chief Executive Officer of Diageo plc, has distinguished himself by his brilliant leadership of the beverage alcohol industry and his determined advocacy of corporate social responsibility. As head of the largest premium drinks corporation, Walsh has successfully advocated for worldwide social responsibility and moderation both within his company and throughout the beverage alcohol industry.  In this capacity, he has worked closely with Prime Minister Tony Blair in the United Kingdom fighting underage drinking and drunk driving.  In the United States, his corporate and industry leadership have had a significant impact on the spirits industry’s successful efforts to achieve serious social responsibility goals.

William Goldring, Chairman of the Republic Beverage Company, has achieved outstanding success in his 40 year beverage alcohol industry career. Goldring worked his way up through the ranks, from the warehouse, to sales, to management, to President, and now chairman.  His charitable efforts and service to society have been extraordinary.  Recipient of many awards for his philanthropy and service, Mr. Goldring has been active in education as a member of the Tulane University Board of Administrators; in community health as a Director of the Touro Infirmary; in community business development as a Director of the World Trade Center and the New Orleans Business Council; and in societal issues as a Director of the Anti-Defamation League.  He is a well-known patron of the arts and history and was a driving force in the establishment of the D-Day museum in New Orleans.

Marvin R. Shanken, Chairman, M. Shanken Communications, Inc., has distinguished himself by his remarkable innovation and leadership in the wine and spirits industry.  Mr. Shanken founded and developed the premiere lifestyle and business publications for the wine and spirits industry, including the award-winning Wine Spectator and Impact.  His publications are recognized worldwide and have been an essential element of the extraordinary growth in the wine and spirits industry.  Mr. Shanken has established several foundations which have provided hundreds of student scholarships, raised millions of dollars to fight prostate cancer and has personally supported a range of cultural, educational and health causes.

Sidney Frank, (posthumous award) distinguished himself as an extraordinary and innovative leader and brand builder in the spirits industry and as a generous philanthropist.  Founder and former Chairman of Sidney Frank Importing Co., Inc., Mr. Frank was best known as the creator of Grey Goose Vodka and importer of successful brands such as Jagermeister and Corazon Tequila.  Active for years in various professional, cultural, and charitable organizations, he founded the Sydney Frank Foundation and was its first Chairman.  A dedicated philanthropist, he made some of the largest educational gifts in American history including $120 million to Brown University for a scholarship fund.  He also actively supported the American Heart Association, the Police and Firefighters’ Widow and Orphan Fund, and many other organizations.

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