We had the privilege of asking our Committee Co-Convenor Eddie Brook from Cape Byron Distillery a few questions about himself and our industry, this is what he had to say.
My journey into the world of spirits began when a fresh-eyed 17 year old Eddie moved from Byron Bay to Brisbane to start University. As most uni students do, I started working in Bars and quickly fell in love with the incredible world of spirits and found my creative output in cocktails. I spent the next 5 years learning the trade and working for some great cocktail bars through Brisbane (whilst attending the odd uni course), this led me to an opportunity to become an ambassador where I would educate bartenders and customers about the incredible world of Spirits and how they are made. From Tequila to rum, Bourbon, Scotch Whisky, Gin and everything in between. Growing up in a family that farms Macadamias and regenerates rainforest, I’ve always had a strong connection to how products are made from the ground up. Cut a long story short this led me to a Sales & Marketing career with Southtrade for a number of years and then fate would have it that I met my Idol, legendary master distiller, Jim McEwan. From this meeting and work, we formed a great friendship and the idea to start Cape Byron Distillery was born. I was then lucky enough to be trained and mentored by Jim and my journey of Craft distillation began.
There is no one specific memory that springs to mind, when I give it some thought, the thing I am most proud of and in awe of is the growth and development of our industry. We started our distillery in 2016, back then we were one of around 60 distilleries in Australia and very much an up-and-coming industry. To look at our industry today of 500+ distilleries with many distilleries at global scale and the breathtaking level of quality across so many spirit categories. We are so proud to be a part of this incredible industry
I am forever in search of greater productivity. I will always ensure that I block out time in the calendar to get my project work done. I’m also trying to say no a lot more than I’d say yes…it’s still a work in progress. My other tip would be to find a good project management framework/software that works for you. We use Trello at the distillery to ensure all projects and departments are on track and everyone is across what needs to be done.
If I pressed fast forward and we stepped into the NSW|ACT Distillers group in 5 years time, this is what I hope it would look like. The group is a strong State-based industry body that is championing the success and growth of the Distilled spirits industry. Similar to other states, we would have achieved funding and support from State governments to support NSW/ACT distillery's Tourism/Cellar door operations, Export strategies (NSW/ACT export road map) and export development and will be the lead body to improve Safety practices working hand in hand with Safe work NSW.
Our Vision is for this group to be a driving force for the support and growth of our industry. It is brilliant to see the success of other State organisations such as Distillers South Australia, Spirits Victoria Association and the Tasmanian Whisky & Spirits Association. These groups have broken the ice and we will be working towards many of the successes that they have achieved. In order to bring this to life, we are going to need your involvement. There is a great old African proverb that I think sums up why we exist ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together’. We look forward to building the NSW|ACT Distillers group into a body that will drive and support growth for our State industry
This is an easy choice for me, a Negroni…with Brookie’s of course!
Australian Distillers Association
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