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QLD news

Check the latest news and advocacy work from the Queensland Spirits Industry.

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  • 13 May 2024 10:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Queensland Distillers Association (QDA) confirms it has submitted it's submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry to the House Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Resources Inquiry on Food and Beverage Manufacturing in Australia.

    Below is an excerpt of the introduction and a link to the submission and inquiry page.


    The Queensland Distillers Association (QDA) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the House Standing Committee on Industry Science and Resources inquiry into Food and Beverage Manufacturing in Australia.

    The QDA supports the recommendations contained in the Australian Distillers Association submission, as well as those put forward in the submission made by Spirits & Cocktails Australia.

    These submissions by the main national representative bodies of the Australian spirits industry set out the industry-wide and national issues facing alcohol beverage producers, whereas the QDA submission identifies the specific challenges and opportunities facing distillers in our state. The 2023 focus goals of the QDA are:

    1. Jobs and skills Including the development of TAFE Certificate II, III and IV in distilling.

    2. Enhancing the visitor economy Development of distillery tourism experiences including a Queensland Distillery Trail website.

    3. Industry development Build the narrative around Queensland spirits being the best in the world and export-ready.

    4. Key infrastructure growth Advocate for state & local government distillery tasting room grants to build visitor experiences.

    5. Export development Marketing Queensland spirits to the world

    These key objectives for the QDA align with the Terms of reference for the Inquiry.


  • 28 Feb 2024 4:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Queensland Distillers' Association Inc. in conjunction with WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) are very pleased to announce the inaugural 2024 Royal Queensland Awards - Distilled Spirits and encourage ALL Australian Distillers to enter.

    These awards leverage off the incredible success of the prestigious Royal Queensland Awards including competitions for Wine and Beer and importantly address frustrations and concerns held by many distillers in respect of the myriad of Australian and international spirits competitions. Namely:

    • Integrity & Consistency – WSET provides wine and spirit education to the very highest of standards the world over. WSET methodology and WSET qualified educators will be foundational to the judging.
    • International standing – Head Judge, Nick King WSET Head of Research and Curriculum – Spirits, based in London, is an internationally renowned spirits expert and judge.
    • Not For Profit - The RNA’s mission, since 1875, is to celebrate and champion the essential role that agriculture plays in our everyday lives by showcasing and rewarding those judged the finest in their fields.


    EARLY BIRD SAVINGS END Friday 8th March 2024
    Cost – $95 per early bird entry.

    ENTRIES CLOSE Wednesday 29 May
    Value – one 700ml bottle or equivalent.





    Queensland distillers are at the cusp of being to Queensland what wine is to South Australia, an export and job creation powerhouse producing and exporting Queensland spirits, liqueurs, aromatics, and vermouths that are equal to the very best in the World.

    We welcome our interstate colleagues, their excellent spirits, and the opportunity for Queensland Spirits to be judged by world class judges in world class competition.

    David Ridden
    Queensland Distillers’ Association Inc.

  • 4 Dec 2023 11:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Continuing the dedicated work of the QDA Committee, we are pleased to announce the launch of a new export plan template for QDA members preparing to be 'export ready'.

    The following template has been developed by Trade & Investment Queensland (TIQ) in partnership with the Queensland Distillers Association (QDA), to prompt you with a few key considerations for export.

    We encourage you to treat this as a working document to ensure you have the necessary resources, capital, production capacity and risk management strategies (freights costs, supply chain and production constraints) to support your successful international expansion.



  • 30 Nov 2023 8:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Queensland rum producers have shown they are the best in Australia, sweeping 4 Trophies, 4 Gold, 3 Silver and 19 Bronze awards at the 2023 Australian Rum Awards.

    Leading the way was Mt Uncle Distillery in Far North Queensland, Wildflower Gin and VOK Beverages (Beenleigh Distillery) which captured four of the five Trophies awarded.

    Mt Uncle, VOK Beverages and Nil Desperandum won four of the six Gold medals awarded.

    Capricorn Distilling Co won two Silvers with Castle Glen Australia winning another. And Queensland distillers swept up 19 of the 26 Bronze awards handed out, with Nil Desperandum being awarded a whopping 9 of them, alongside VOK Beverages, Castle Glen Australia, Bundaberg Distilling Company, Capricorn Distilling Co, Six Tricks Distilling and Sarina Sugar Shed.

    President of Queensland Distillers Association (QDA), David Ridden, said these awards highlight that Queensland is the rum capital of Australia, with around 97% of sugar cane grown in the state, plus plentiful sunshine, summer rains and passionate, highly-skilled distillers.

    “We have always believed that Queensland spirits, especially rum, are the equal of any in Australia and even the world, and this significant haul of awards demonstrates that Queensland is leading the way in quality rum production,” said Mr Ridden.

    “In particular, I want to congratulate members of the QDA who are actively supporting the Queensland craft spirit industry through their membership, and are dedicated to making world-class spirits.”

    “The recent launch of the Queensland Distillery Trail website, an initiative of QDA, will add further impetus to our rapidly growing sector, and allow the public to identify distillery doors throughout the state to taste these award-winning releases and discover exciting new brands,” said Mr Ridden.

    “Congratulations to all of the winners!”

    The Queensland Distillery Trail website can be found below.

    Queensland Distillery Trail

  • 21 Nov 2023 10:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The following information is provided for assistance with the Queensland Container Refund Scheme. We also include a pdf of FAQs provided by the administrators of the scheme, CoEx, whom you need to register with. 

    The QDA and ADA have campaigned hard for Australian distillers and whilst we have not received all of the concessions we asked for, we have achieved a number of wins that make things easier for our members.

    Full information on the scheme, registration and details of the bar code process are included in the information and we also include additional information from the Department of Environment & Science on how to recover the costs of barcodes.

    Extension to include wine and spirit containers

    What is the basic premise of this extension for beverage manufacturers?

    For information about the reasons for the expansion of the Scheme to glass wine and spirit bottles, please see the Explanatory Notes to the Waste Reduction and Recycling (Expansion of Container Refund Scheme) Amendment Regulation 2023 accessible here.

    What does this mean in practical terms?

    Any eligible container sold by a beverage manufacturer within or into Queensland is captured under the extension to this scheme.

    What happens when we don’t know where the container will be consumed?

    Manufacturer obligations in the Scheme focus on the circumstance of the first sale of a beverage product into or within Queensland, rather than the actual point of use or consumption of the individual beverage product.

    The default assumption is that the product was consumed in Queensland and will then fall within the scheme.

    What if we can record that the container will consumed outside of Queensland?

    For Manufacturers, the relevant consideration is the point of sale within or into Queensland rather than following the actual consumption destination of a product. Where records can reasonably show that the container is sold outside of Queensland, then this will not be included in the reporting. For example, if an online sale to a customer is sent to an address outside of Queensland, then this container will not need to be reported.

    If you are a beverage manufacturer who exports eligible beverage products out of Queensland, then you may enter into an Export Agreement with COEX. The Export Agreement permits you to log your export volumes and to receive a rebate against corresponding sales. Please note, export rebates will only be paid on those containers where a scheme contribution has already been made and those containers end up outside the QLD Containers for Change scheme (i.e. they are sold interstate).

    Does this also relate to distillery door sales?

    In instances where a direct sale occurs between a Queensland-based distillery cellar door (in its role as a manufacturer) and a customer who makes the purchase while physically present in Queensland, these sales will be regarded as part of the Queensland Container Refund Scheme (CRS).

    The rationale behind this determination is that, since the sale occurs within Queensland, involving a Queensland distillery and a customer physically present in the state, it is reasonable to assume that the beverage is intended for use or consumption within Queensland. The residency or consumption location of the consumer outside the state becomes irrelevant in this context.

    Will there be audits?

    As scheme administrator COEX has a risk-based approach to conduct audits to ensure the Scheme integrity. For some of these audits COEX may engage with external providers. Any observations identified will be treated as ongoing contract management including an educational approach

    supporting the manufacturers to meet their compliance requirements. Any instances of intentional or consistent non-compliance will be taken seriously and dealt with appropriately.

    What is the transition period for new labelling?

    1 January 2027 for the refund label.

    1 November 2024 for the barcode (if needed).

    There is no requirement to label existing stock such as stock already packed in crates and boxes. The intention should be to get both barcodes (if needed) and refund mark on your product as soon as practicable.

    What is the date for implementing the extension to this scheme?

    1 November 2023

    What happens to containers sold before this date?

    Glass wine and spirit containers will not need to be reported before 1 November 2023 for the purposes of calculating scheme contributions.

    Do we need to include barcodes on the labels?

    Barcodes are a legal requirement to sell scheme-eligible beverages within or into Queensland. They are also required so manufacturers can register products on COEX’s register of approved containers and report sales into the Queensland market as part of the Scheme.

    Barcodes also enable eligible containers to be scanned in reverse vending machines (RVMs) or recognised by container refund point staff to enable customers to receive their 10-cent refund.

    Does a distillery need to register to be part of the scheme?

    Yes, online through COEX webpage: Beverage Manufacturers - Container Exchange. It is a user-friendly form to fill out and is not expected to take more than 5-10 minutes. Once the first stage is completed you should expect to receive a contract within 10 Business Days. The last step is to register your products as soon as you have received your username and password.

    How much does the beverage manufacturer pay?

    The current price is 13.9 cents per container for glass containers.

    Does this apply to all containers?

    It applies to containers that are eligible within the scheme, including glass, aluminium cans and recyclable plastics.

    What size containers are included in the scheme?

    Expansion of the Scheme will include wine and spirit in glass containers from 150ml to 3 litres.

    What is the reporting period?

    For the purposes of calculating contribution payments, reporting may be monthly, quarterly or yearly, depending on the volume of sales into Queensland in the previous financial year.

    For distilleries who sell >300,000 eligible beverage products per year, a default monthly reporting period applies.

    For distilleries who sell ≤300,000 eligible beverage products per year, a default quarterly reporting period applies but they may elect to do so monthly.

    For distilleries selling less than 100,000 per annum of eligible spirits and wines in glass bottles only, there is a default annual reporting period, at the end of the financial year. These distilleries may also elect to report monthly or quarterly.

    Accessing barcodes

    The following information is provided for members regarding the process for accessing a barcode, should a manufacturer wish to utilise this service.

    1. Queensland wine and pure spirit manufacturers producing 100,000 or less of wine or pure spirit containers can now contact Barcode Qld (details below), providing their contact details and the estimated number of barcodes needed.
    2. A manufacturer may request one barcode to cover all their products or a number of barcodes sufficient for all their product range.
    3. A unique barcode (or barcode)s will be assigned to the beverage manufacturer.
    4. Barcode QLD supplies EAN-13 barcodes to the Queensland producers in the printing formats and also provides education on best practice for labelling using the 1D barcodes
    5. These barcodes are then used to complete the Container Exchange product registration process.
    6. The costs for the purchase of barcodes through Barcode Qld will be met by the department – there is no cost to the manufacturer.
    7. If a manufacturer requires a different barcode or has already purchased a barcode/s they should contact the department to find out how to receive a reimbursement.
    8. Where a barcode has already been purchased or will be purchased through another means (eg. GS1) the manufacturer should keep the tax invoice/receipt for this purchase.
    9. Where a GS1 barcode is purchased the department will support the initial purchase of the barcode but not the ongoing annual fee.

    FAQs for Beverage Manufacturers

  • 31 Oct 2023 9:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The QDA is delighted to announce that the Queensland Distillery Trail website is now live.


    QDA distillery members receive a free listing and profile as part of their annual membership.

    If you are a current financial member and not listed on the website or require changes to your entry, contact Ali O’Keefe.

    If you know of a distillery that would like to be included on the Trail and join the QDA, they can contact QDA. The annual fee will include the balance of 2023 and the full 2024 Calendar Year. Please note membership of Australian Distillers is a prerequisite of joining the QDA.

    We hope that Queensland distilleries will benefit from this exciting initiative from QDA.

  • 27 Sep 2023 10:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A big thanks to our guest speakers Gordon Chalmers, Rick Prosser and Sam Slaney, and all members who were able to join the webinar on the day.

    The recording of the webinar is now available - use the link below to access.

    You can also access Gordon's presentation below with some helpful tips.

    View the September PD Webinar

    Gordon Chalmer's Presentation

    Passcode: V@0B#5b?

    A reminder, too, that Australian Distillers has a Safety Toolkit on their website, complied by leading industry experts, Beca. This should be compulsory reading for all members. Log into the Members section on the Australian Distillers website to access this vital safety information.

    Additional safety resources exist in the member portal and the Safety & Sustainability group have more events and content planned for the year ahead to help members (of all sized businesses) with safety in their distillery.

  • 11 Sep 2023 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland is pleased to announce the Royal Queensland Awards' inaugural Distilled Spirits Competition in 2024.

    We invite potential judges to express their interest in participating on the 8th and 9th of July 2024. The RNA is looking for judges with official qualifications and/or extensive judging experience at all levels, including Head Judges, Panel Chairs, Judges, and Associate Judges.

    The RNA will cover travel, accommodation, and relevant food expenses for the two days of judging at the Brisbane Showgrounds. If you're interested, please click the link below. For any questions, please contact Liam O'Donnell.


  • 17 Aug 2023 10:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    An important part of QDA's role is advocating for distillers on important changes that could affect the growth of our industry.

    Container Deposit Scheme

    With the announced introduction of the scheme for spirit bottles from 1 November, QDA has been working with Spirits and Cocktails Australia to address some of the concerning shortfalls in the approach put forward in draft legislation, including:

    • Disproportionate impact on Queensland artisan distillers.
    • Only allowing until January 2025 to implement required logos and information on labels.
    • Lack of harmonisation of label changes with other states, plus potential changes from FSANZ requiring energy labelling.

    We would encourage you to reach out to your local member on this issue.

    Liquor Licensing Proactive Compliance Plan

    OLGR have recently released their 2023-2024 Proactive Compliance Plan - download it here.

    Importantly, a stated focus is ensuring ensuring artisan producers understand, and are meeting, their licence obligations and harm minimisation requirements.

    OLGR have indicated that:

    "The artisan producer licence has primarily been included in our compliance plan for the next year because it is a new licence type and two years or so in it is appropriate from a risk management perspective as the regulator to touch base with licensees to ensure they fully understand the requirements of the licence (particularly as outlined in the attached fact sheet which is also on our website). It is more of an educative role in the first instance and is not in response to any wide-ranging areas of non-compliance that we aware of."

    Artisan distillers should expect OLGR to reach out to them over the coming months. They have indicated that there will be an initial focus on those who have not lodged their annual return on time.

    Excise at $100.05 per LAL

    Australian Distiller's Association is coordinating a campaign - kicked off with the unfortunate milestone of inflation driving excise to $100.05 per LAL - to have distillers engage with local members of federal parliament and media to make the case for tax reform.

    Head to the Australian Distillers website where you can find the handbook for distillers to support this advocacy.

  • 17 Aug 2023 10:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As an emerging industry, one of our biggest challenges can be dealing with local government, particularly around planning schemes that don't have a clear place for breweries and distilleries.

    Mackay Regional Council have developed clear guidelines for planning for breweries and distilleries. This may be of use to you when engaging with your local council and its planning department to understand appropriate zoning for your distillery.

    Download the planning guide.

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