The Walpole

A Summer of Luxury | Holiday with… Beanie Espey & Rebecca Jago, Joint MDs of The Last Drop Distillers


Kicking off the first day of our 2019 Summer of Luxury Campaign – a celebration of the year’s most carefree of months – we spoke to the inspiring ‘rare spirit hunters’ Rebecca Jago and Beanie Espey, joint Managing Directors of the Last Drop Distillers, on their holiday plans and how taking some downtime inspires all those ‘eureka’ moments.

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WHERE ARE YOU HOLIDAYING THIS YEAR?

Rebecca: I have had a wonderful start to my summer, with a week in the beautiful Peloponnese in Greece in May, followed by a last-minute trip to the west coast of Mexico in June to meet up with my daughter, who is currently living in Peru. We are now spending ten days with friends at our house in the south west of France. We drove down, stopping en route in Cognac to catch up with some contacts there, as you never know when a special cask of something old and delicious may turn up. France is very rural, and very relaxing: the real luxury is having the opportunity to catch up with friends, and catch up on my reading!

Beanie: This year my husband and I will be summer holidaying for the first time with our one year old son, Felix. We were looking for a place that was both a proper getaway and good with small children, and alighted on the Il de Re, just off the French coast near La Rochelle. I’m picturing picnics on windswept beaches, cycling from village to village and delicious food and wine. We are also making an important detour to Cognac and Bordeaux… in fact Felix will celebrate his first birthday in style in St Emilion!

WHAT IS YOUR ‘MUST-HAVE’ ITEM TO PACK IN YOUR SUITCASE?

Rebecca: My kindle (see above) and factor 50!

Beanie: Much like Rebecca, I relish reading when on holiday – but I’m currently having a renewed love-affair with printed books. The kindle is so practical, but given Felix won’t permit me an abundance of free time, I think a few paperbacks will suffice. On a more practical note, I have discovered Heliocare tinted suntan cream; it gives great protection and a lovely bronzed glow at the same time!

WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE AL FRESCO DRINKING/DINING SPOT?

Rebecca: Outside the house in France with the umbrella up. We were given an amazing rotating, cantilevered umbrella big enough to keep ten of us in the shade, and I love it!

Beanie: There is a little square in Florence, just behind the Palazzo Pitti, that I used to frequent all the time when I lived there to sip on a Negroni. Otherwise somewhere on the Calle Consistorio in Jerez; cold fino and fat green olives. Yum.

WHAT IS YOUR HOLIDAY READ THIS YEAR?

Rebecca: I have just finished the outstanding and absorbing Putney by Sofka Zinovieff. It’s a particularly interesting read for me as I live (and grew up) in Putney. I’m about to start on Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, which seems to be the non-fiction book of the moment.

Beanie: Some years ago one of my best friends, who is also the daughter of two classics teachers, gave me a copy of “Song of Achilles”, by Madeline Miller, which I devoured. I’ve been waiting patiently for another book by the same author, and it finally arrived in the form of Circe. I can’t wait to start it.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A ‘LIGHTBULB’ MOMENT RELATED TO YOUR BUSINESS OR CAREER WHILE TAKING SOME DOWNTIME?

Rebecca: Yes. Last year was a difficult time for me, with the death of both my parents. I was lucky enough to take six weeks off at the end of the year and travel with my husband around the world. The time away from the day-to-day running of the business gave me a very different perspective on some of the minutiae which can take up much too much of my time. I think I came back to The Last Drop with renewed energy and a better overview of what we want to achieve. My personal 2019 resolution was to delegate more, and to focus on building the brand. I’m not sure the team would agree that I’m succeeding with the delegation, but I’m definitely trying!

Beanie: Funnily enough, Rebecca and I have lots of eureka moments while travelling. We always try and use the time on flights and in departure lounges to chat, rather than get engrossed in our emails, and in fact the idea for both Tom’s Blend and our 2018 Piccadilly Atelier came while travelling in the USA!