Brandy maker unveils Damien Hirst label
A new work of art by the controversial artist Damien Hirst has been unveiled - the label of a bottle of brandy.
Mr Hirst, 46, has designed the box and bottle label for a limited edition run of 20-year-old Somerset Cider Brandy, thanks to the fashion designer Alice Temperley, a friend of the artist and daughter of distillery owner Julian Temperley.
Despite once being the enfant terrible of modern British art, best known for work featuring preserved and dissected animals, his latest work is a modernist "spin art" splash of colours that will be less challenging for art lovers and drinkers alike.
Mr Temperley said "serious foodie" Hirst had made a deal with his daughter 10 years ago, when she was a fashion student, that he would design a label for the brandy.
After the spirit won Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status from the European Union last month, she called in the favour from the multimillionaire artist, who lives mainly in Devon with his partner and three sons, to design a label for the drink which celebrates the award.
"This is a huge gift from him," Mr Temperley said today.
"He is a very good fellow. He did say to Alice 10 years ago that he would do a label.
"She reminded him at a fashion show after we won (PGI) and said that he had better do it.
"It is brilliant, it actually works as a celebration of victory."
Designer Miss Temperley, 36, was made an MBE last March for services to the fashion industry.
Synonymous with glamour and elegance, she counts among her fans actresses Eva Mendez, Demi Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sienna Miller, Jennifer Lopez and Halle Berry. The Duchess of Cambridge has also worn an outfit made by the designer, who has boutiques in London, New York, Los Angeles and Dubai.
Her family have been making Somerset Cider Brandy at Burrow Hill farm, near Kingsbury Episcopi, for 25 years and all the apples come from Somerset, mostly from the company's own 150 acres of orchards.
The purpose of PGI status is to protect the reputation of regional foods and avoid non-genuine products misleading consumers.
The first written records of cider brandy go back to 1678 but the historic product was threatened when the European Commission and European member states drew up agreed definitions of brandy and it was removed from the list.
But cider brandy producers in Somerset received confirmation last month that the tipple will be given protected status, avoiding the risk of cheap imitations.
Only 500 bottles of the Hirst-bottled cider brandy will be sold, with 10 being auctioned off for charities including a South African orphanage. One bottle, Mr Temperley said, will be given to South West Labour MEP Sir Graham Watson, for the "enormous debt" they owe him for his help in securing PGI status.
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