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27 Jul 2022 9:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

At the Australian Distillers Association 2022 Conference in April, Greg Holland from Spirits & Cocktails Australia, advised participants of the opportunity to join him at the SpiritsEurope conference to be held in Dublin. The following delegates opted into a unique opportunity for professional development and networking with global peers.

The delegation consisted of:

  • Rebecca Bullen, Founder, Darwin Distilling Co.
  • David McLeod, Chief Executive, Gippsland Distilling Company
  • Dervilla McGowan, Co-Founder & Distiller, Anther
  • Hilton Izzett, Owner & Founder, HHH Distill Pty Ltd
  • Josh Walker, Owner & Distiller, Timboon Distillery
  • Kristy Lark-Booth, Owner, Manager & Distiller, Killara Distillery (member of the Australian Distillers Committee of Management)
  • Matt Hobson, Founder & Chief Imagineer, CAVU Distillery (member of the Australian Distillers Committee of Management)
  • Sebastian Reaburn, Master Distiller, Top Shelf International (member of the Australian Distillers Committee of Management)
  • Scott Hooper, Principal & Head Distiller, Gippsland Distilling Company
  • Steve Timmis, Owner & Head Distiller, Fosseys Distillery
  • John Richardson, Public Affairs Consultant, Beam-Suntory
  • Paul McLeay, Chief Executive, Australian Distillers
  • Greg Hollans, Chief Executive, Spirits & Cocktails Australia
  • Nicole Lestal, Communications & Program Manager, Spirits & Cocktails Australia

Over the course of the program, the delegation engaged in roundtable meetings with our peers from the Irish Whiskey Association and Scotch Whisky Association to discuss key issues impacting the Australian spirits category, including technical standards, sustainability and trade with the UK and Ireland. These roundtable meetings were complemented by the delegation’s attendance at the spiritsEUROPE Congress in Dublin, which provided insight into the European experience of responding to rising inflation and supply chain issues in the wake of COVID, and trade issues emerging from Brexit and the negotiation of new EU and UK free trade agreements.

spiritsEUROPE also extended an invitation for Greg and Australian Distillers CEO Paul McLeay, as respective heads of our trade associations, to deliver a presentation on the impact of global and local spirits producers working together on joint advocacy initiatives. Their presentation was followed by a similar presentation from Chris Swonger of DISCUS, and together these sessions were used as a catalyst for a discussion among spiritsEUROPE members to consider their forward plan for global and local producers working together on issues impacting their domestic markets, and across Europe. DISCUS has invited us to present a similar proposal and organise a trade delegation at their conference in May next year.

The delegations’ engagements in Dublin were enhanced by positive interactions with the Australian Ambassador to Ireland, who attended the roundtable meeting with the Irish Whiskey Association and a dinner event with Spirits & Cocktails. The Ambassador shared his enthusiasm and support for the growth of Australian-produced spirits to be exported to Ireland and has been forthcoming with ideas and offers of support since our engagement with him.

Behind-the-scenes tours.

Additionally, the delegation attended a series of behind-the-scenes tours of distilleries and visitor experiences in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland. These visits were facilitated by colleagues at both Irish Whiskey Association and Scotch Whisky Association, with the generous support of several our members. These visits were also often led by distillers and senior managers of the visitor experiences, which provided several opportunities for meaningful discussions with the delegation.

The distillery visits and experiences included:

  • Bushmills Distillery (Northern Ireland)
  • Hinch Distillery (Northern Ireland)
  • Slane Distillery (Northern Ireland)
  • Roe & Co. Distillery (Ireland)
  • Teelings Distillery (Ireland)
  • Jameson Bow Street Experience (Ireland)
  • Kilbeggan Distillery (Ireland)
  • Johnnie Walker Princes Street Experience (Scotland)
  • GlenDronach Distillery (Scotland)
  • Glenfiddich Distillery (Scotland)
  • Balvenie Distillery (Scotland)


UK/Australia Free Trade Agreement

Additionally, there were meetings with Australian consular and trade officials in London to discuss the UK/Australia Free Trade Agreement and market entry opportunities for Australian-manufactured spirits products. As well as the World Spirits Alliance, where Australia was able to participate as a panellist to discuss nutrition and health labelling issues, in particular Australia’s recent experience of pregnancy warning labelling and our ongoing engagement with FSANZ on sugar and energy labelling. Thank you to David Ridden for being able to attend the component in Geneva.

The delegation also discussed key issues impacting the Australian spirits category including sustainability and trade with the UK and Ireland, insights into the European experience of responding to rising inflation and supply chain issues in the wake of COVID, and trade issues emerging from Brexit and the negotiation of new EU and UK free trade agreements

The delegation also benefited from behind-the-scenes tour and knowledge sharing from large and craft distilleries in Northern Ireland, Ireland and Scotland to deepen their understanding of the processes and scale of production.

The benefits of the tour include:

  • Quality of the programming and access to key officials from Irish Whiskey and Scotch Whisky Associations, Irish Ambassador, and Master Distillers/ Visitor Experience Managers;
  • Greater understanding of the need to develop technical standards (and in the future, GIs) to protect the integrity of the Australian spirits category and assist trade opportunities; and
  • An appreciation of the benefit of investment to facilitate scale and the development of domestic distilling (enhancing output, exports, and visitor experiences).

The Presentation made by the CEOs to SpiritsEUROPE and the presentations given by Irish Whiskey Association and Scotch Whisky Association are attached and can be accessed by members below.

Spirits & Cocktails Australia & Australian Distillers Presentation - spiritsEUROPE Congress

IWA-Australia Presentation 

SCA – Australia Presentation 


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