Gin pioneer Martin Miller has died after a short battle with cancer.

Miller, who co-founded Martin Miller’s gin in a bid to revitalise the category in the face of stiff competition from vodka, died on Christmas Eve.

Brand owner Reformed Spirits said: “Martin was genuinely concerned that by the 1990’s the gin drinker was an endangered species, slowly being strangled by the dead hand, as he saw it, of vodka. 

“Martin’s dream was to pass on his own love of gin to a whole new generation of gin lovers. Now if that meant creating his own gin, then so be it and if in the process he was also creating the world’s first super premium gin it was of little consequence.

“Within Martin Miller’s Gin, he was an inspiration and a genius. An iconoclast and a genuine English eccentric. These days much copied but never equalled.”\

Charles Gordon, life president of William Grant & Sons, also died over the Christmas period at the age of 86.

Gordon, who was described as “a key driving force in building William Grant & Sons into a strong independent family-owned company with a unique global reputation for excellence”, died in New York.   

His son Glenn, the present chairman of the company, said: “We are all very proud of my father’s achievements in his very full and energetic lifetime, and give thanks for the legacy that he has left us with.  He touched the lives of many, many people and will be sorely missed by all.”