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

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  • 26 Feb 2024 2:07 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.

  • 24 Feb 2024 2:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With an increase of mergers and acquisitions in the alcohol industry, the ATO (and specifically the Alcohol Stakeholder Group) are reminding businesses of the implications such activities may have on the eligibility of entities to apply the Excise remission scheme for manufacturers of alcoholic beverages (Remission Scheme).

    The following two Remission Scheme eligibility criteria should be considered closely when undertaking mergers and acquisitions:

    • Meaning of ‘alcohol manufacturer’
      • An entity will not be considered to have manufactured an alcoholic beverage where it acquires alcoholic beverages from another manufacturer or acquires the business of another manufacturer, including the trading stock on hand.
      • To qualify as an ‘alcohol manufacturer’ in these situations, the entity would need to undertake further manufacture in respect of the product. The remaining eligibility criteria would also need to be considered to ensure eligibility to the Remission Scheme (i.e. the 70% fermentation/distillation requirement).
    • Legal and economic independence
      • Where two or more alcohol manufacturers are not ‘legally and economically independent’ only one alcohol manufacturer in that group is entitled to a remission of excise duty for the financial year.
      • Once an entity has applied the remission under the Remission Scheme, any other entity that is not legally and economically independent of the first will not be entitled to apply the remission.
      • Legal independence and economic independence must be considered individually, as well as collectively and requires a balanced analysis of relevant factors.

    The full eligibility criteria and supporting guidance can be found in Section 7.3.3 of the Excise guidelines for the alcohol industry , with additional information on legal and economic independence included in Excise Ruling ER 2023/1 Excise: the meaning of ‘legally and economically independent’.

  • 22 Feb 2024 5:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Australia’s alcohol taxation system is illogical, incoherent, and discriminatory regarding spirits.

    The policy settings for the Australian spirits industry have only been tinkered with by successive governments.

    It is now time for the Government to act. We need your support.

    This latest increase to the world’s third highest spirits tax is unconscionable under the current economic conditions confronting Australian spirits manufacturers. The entire industry must work together to raise awareness among politicians, customers, communities and staff of the impact that high spirits excise has on the growth and sustainability of the Australian spirits industry.

    The automatic indexation of spirits tax every six months is now under unprecedented scrutiny as a cost of living issue. The media and the public have cottoned on to the fact that alcohol tax increases are contributing to inflation and eroding their discretionary income, because income tax is not indexed to inflation.

    We must seize this opportunity and maintain pressure on the Government to take action on spirits tax.

    I draw your attention to page 9 of the Members Handbook which has a draft letter for you to send your local MP requesting they visit your distillery, support our call to freeze the excise increases and support our call for a Parliamentary Inquiry. Feel free to amend the letter, but please send it today!

    Download the Handbook for all of the tools you need to assist in the campaign to make our industry stronger, fairer and more sustainable.


  • 6 Feb 2024 11:03 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Australian spirits manufacturers are this week confronting the grim reality of yet another increase to the world’s third highest spirits tax.

    The new rate of $101.85 per litre follows a series of especially punishing increases powered by automatic six-monthly indexation to CPI.

    Australian Distillers Association chief executive Paul McLeay said the country’s craft spirits industry is united in calling for urgent tax reform.

    “There are now more than 600 distilleries across Australia, half of which are located in regional areas,” he said.

    “Their future is increasingly being jeopardised by these relentless six-monthly tax increases.

    “We say to the Government: enough is enough. Freeze spirits tax at its current rate for two years so that we can work together on developing sustainable policy settings for our industry.”

    Spirits & Cocktails Australia chief executive Greg Holland said the latest hike means spirits tax has increased by 16 per cent during the inflationary environment of the last three years.

    “This tax is clearly unsustainable for spirits manufacturers, their trade customers, and consumers who are already struggling with the cost of living,” he said.

    “We call on the Government once again to freeze this tax at its current rate for two years.

    “This temporary measure will take the pressure off our industry and help the Government accomplish its mission of bringing inflation back under control.”

    Industry under stress: Cape Byron Distillery

    Cape Byron Distillery founder Eddie Brook said small distilleries are unable to pass the tax hikes on to trade and consumers in the current economic environment.

    “And we don't have the economies of scale, nor are we growing quick enough to absorb these ongoing costs,” he said.

    “As a result, these six-monthly increases really do have the effect of reducing margin in our business at a time when we are already experiencing cost increases across the board, and economic conditions are impacting consumer demand and spend choices.

    “It's getting to the point that it is putting such stress on the industry.”

    A hostile market for spirits: Starward Whisky

    Starward Whisky founder David Vitale said the tax rate was around $64 per litre when his distillery was conceived in 2007.

    “Here we are 17 years later and we’ll be paying $101.85,” he said.

    “Start-up businesses have a fixed amount of capital available to scale and grow, and every six months that’s compromised by the government giving themselves a pay rise.

    “Every dollar increase in excise is a dollar less that we have to invest in scaling our businesses.

    “Our sights have to be set on export markets because it’s simply uncompetitive to operate here in Australia.”

    Jobs on the line: Never Never Distilling

    Never Never Distilling co-founder George Georgiadis said the latest increase is very hard to stomach under the economic conditions confronting distillers in 2024.

    “Our margins are already being squeezed as input costs are going up across the board,” he said.

    “Meanwhile, revenue is down because consumers have cut their spending on premium Australian spirits.

    “We’re already struggling to make that work and then we get slugged every six months with tax increases that are not only swallowing up more margin, but making our products proportionately more expensive to beer and wine again.”

    Georgiadis said the latest increase puts Never Never under pressure to further reduce its workforce, having been forced to retrench several employees last year.

  • 1 Feb 2024 11:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Callington Mill Distillery are seeking expressions of interest from those wishing to purchase premium quality, freshly decanted 30L casks. These casks have been maturing Callington Mill Distillery Single Malt Whisky.

    The casks available are as follows:

    30L Second Fill Casks at $300 each plus GST plus freight. These exceptional casks have cradled our Single Malt for over four years, and we're open to negotiating prices for bulk purchases.

    These casks are capsules of time and history, having previously housed exquisite Sherry from Spain's renowned Sherry Triangle and Port from the picturesque Douro Valley in Porto, Portugal

    30L Oak types are:

    • Cream Canasta, a combination of PX and Oloroso
    • Oloroso
    • Pedro Ximenez
    • Port
    • Limited Madeira
    • Peated Ex Whisky Casks

    They have a limited number of casks for sale now.

    To purchase, or if you have any questions please email the distillery.


  • 22 Jan 2024 1:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Australian spirits manufacturers have renewed their calls for a freeze on spirits tax increases, as bi-annual indexation continues to fuel inflation and cost of living pressures.

    Spirits excise is once again scheduled for increases in February and August of 2024, having already risen in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) by a total of 12.5% in under two years.

    Spirits & Cocktails Australia chief executive Greg Holland said spirit manufacturers cannot stomach further increases to this tax, which is the world’s third highest at $100.05 per litre of alcohol.

    “The Federal Government’s own data is starting to bear out the folly of this outdated excise regime,” he said.

    “Despite a record high tax, the December budget update revealed a projected $170 million shortfall in revenue from spirits excise in 2023-24.

    “This is clear evidence that the tax is making spirits unaffordable for consumers. Continued increases would be nonsensical; consumers, manufacturers and the Government all lose out to this inefficient tax.”

    Furthermore, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ September Quarter results found spirits, powered by bi-annual excise increases, was the largest contributor to an annual CPI increase of 4.9% for the alcohol category.

    Holland said this demonstrates the extent to which CPI indexation is actually fuelling the inflation problem that the Federal Government is purportedly trying so hard to address.

    “This highlights that the rising costs of alcohol, fuelled by excise increases, is being felt by hardworking Australians.”

    Australian Distillers Association chief executive Paul McLeay said the 600 distilleries spread across the country need urgent respite from this punitive tax.

    “The average Australian would be appalled if they knew just how much of the hard-earned money they spend on spirits goes directly to the Government,” he said.

    “Spirits tax above $100 a litre should be a barbecue stopper this summer.

    “We are calling on the Government to freeze this un-Australian and unbearable tax so we can work together to develop policy settings to support the sustainable growth of this promising industry.”

  • 22 Jan 2024 11:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The early bird registration discount for ADI's 2024 International Spirits Competition will end in about two weeks on February 2, 2024. As a reminder, as members of the Australian Distillers Association you can also save an additional $100/spirit when you use the discount code 2024ADA.

    Note: Any spirits not yet imported into the US will need to complete a free FDA Prior Notice and our free COLA Waiver application, details of which will be provided after registration.

    Members can find all the details about the competition by following the link below.

    International Spirits Competition

  • 23 Dec 2023 8:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Members would be aware that the Australian Distillers Association is in the process of reviewing the Rules and Constitution of the Association. This is hoped to be finalised early next year and presented to members at this time for your consideration.

    In light of the impending proposed changes, the Annual General Meeting will be held early next year. At this time, we will produce an annual report that covers the highlights of this year and the challenges for the year ahead.

    New Vice President

    At the December Board meeting of the Australian Distillers Association, Cameron Syme resigned as Vice President and a member of the board. The Board thanked Cameron for his 20 year contribution to the industry and his passion and commitment to the category.

    The board filled the vacancy with David Vitale. David is the Founder of New World Whisky Distillery (Starward). For nearly two decades David has been at the forefront of the global craft spirit movement building Starward into one of the most internationally recognised New World whisky brands. Having lived in America for the last 4 1/2 years, David is a huge advocate for Australian craft spirits abroad, and the unique opportunity Australian distillers have on the world scale.

    David Vitale, Vice President with CEO, Paul McLeay

  • 23 Dec 2023 7:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thank you to Members who have engaged with their local MP. The most effective voice we have is when local distillers engage directly with your local representative. Many members have written to their MP or invited them to their distillery. This is the most important part of our campaign for fair and sustainable tax reform.

    Hon. Richard Marles MP, Deputy Prime Minister (at time of his visit, he was Acting Prime Minister) visited Anther Distillery in Geelong with a group of Australian Distillers from Victoria.

    The meeting provided a great opportunity for the industry to brief the Acting Prime Minister on the challenges and opportunities facing the industry, within the physical context of a working distillery. 

    On 15 November, the CEO met with Brian Mitchell MP & Senator Perin Davey, the co-convenors of the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Spirits group to discuss options for Parliamentary Friends group functions when Parliament resumes in 2024.

    On 21 November, Spirits & Cocktails Australia convened a group of members and representatives of Australian Distillers to participate in a policy briefing with the Minister on the industry’s trade and tourism potential. Participants included Will Edwards (Archie Rose), Satya Sharma (Lark), David Vitale (Starward), Cameron Mackenzie (Four Pillars) and Steven Magarry (Sydney Rum Company). The meeting was held at the Archie Rose manufacturing plant in Banksmeadow. 

    Also on 21 November, the CEO attended an event for SA Labor, which was funded by SCA. The event was co-hosted with Distillers South Australia and attended by Nicole Lestal from SCA and distillers from Never Never, Imperial Measures, Seppetsfield Road and 5Nines Distilling. The guests of honour included the SA Treasurer and Attorney-General. 

  • 23 Dec 2023 7:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) will venture into the world of distilled spirits for the first time since 1981 next year as it launches its inaugural stand-alone Sydney Royal Distilled Spirits Show.

    Under the guidance of Australian drinks industry veteran, Stuart Gregor, the competition will support the growth of the Australian spirits and drinks industry by providing producers with the opportunity to benchmark their products at a national level and go under the tastebuds of some of the best in the business. The Sydney Royal Distilled Spirits Show will join the RAS’ calendar of prestigious wine, dairy and fine food competitions which include the Sydney Royal Wine Show and Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Show.

    Set to take place in September 2024 classes will include Brandy, Cane Spirit, Gin, Liqueur, Rum, Vodka, Whiskey, Alternative Distilled Spirits, Non-Alcoholic and a stand-alone Ready to Drink (RTD) class, with fifteen Champion trophies up for grabs.

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