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

Click below on the relevant news feed.

  • 7 Nov 2022 4:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Australian Distillers members elected Holly Klintworth of Bass & Flinders Distillery as their first female President at their Annual General Meeting held on Monday.

    Holly takes on the role following eight years with Stu Gregor, Four Pillars co-founder and industry stalwart, at the helm. Under Stu’s leadership, membership of the Association grew from 30 to over 400 members, as Australian distilling continues to boom and flourish.

    Remarking on her appointment, Ms Klintworth expressed her excitement in accepting the nomination as President and acknowledged Stu’s legacy and tireless advocacy in achieving the increase to the alcohol manufacturer remission scheme from $100,000 to $350,000 at the 2021 Federal Budget.

    Holly Klintworth                                                        Stuart Gregor

    “When anyone thinks of Australian Distillers or Four Pillars, they think of the inimitable Stu Gregor. He encouraged Australian Distillers to be forward-thinking and to adopt a growth mindset. He demonstrated that our industry is capable of so much more.

    “Stu was inspired by the generous spirit of Bill Lark and Spike Dessert who believed so passionately in lending a helping hand to the next generation of Australian distillers. Thank you to Stu for maintaining the legacy of the giants whose shoulders you stood on.

    “I look forward to continuing your strong, reliable and committed leadership as we embark on the next chapter of our growth and embrace new opportunities to showcase incredible Australian spirits to an ever-growing and passionate Australian and global consumer base.”

    Holly is supported on the Australian Distillers Committee of Management by Vice President and Australian Distillers Hall of Fame inductee, Cameron Syme, and Secretary/ Treasurer, Stephen Parry of Pattex Distillery, who continue in their roles.

    The Association also welcomes new Committee members Cameron Mackenzie of Four Pillars (VIC), George Georgiadis of Never Never Distilling Co.(SA), Adam Pinkard of Adams Distillery (TAS) and Kate Sinfield of Sin Gin Distillery (WA).

  • 20 Oct 2022 1:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ABAC have now completed a follow up of the issues arising from the recent compliance monitoring project. The ABAC Management Committee is waiting for the JWS Research report which has been delayed as the project leader is currently on extended leave. There are now three useful resources for ensuring responsible placement of alcohol marketing.

    The Paid and Placed and Organics Marketing compliance checklists have been approved at the last ABAC Management Committee meeting and they have been placed on the ABAC website. There is now a paper that outlines the age restriction controls and platform policies available for Facebook and Instagram for both brand accounts and influencer posts. The latter document arose from queries raised during the compliance monitoring project.

    Members should let your staff know: -

    1. The importance of applying age restriction controls to a brands digital marketing, including requiring influencers to age restrict their Facebook and Instagram posts promoting an alcohol brand (AW&G have started this);
    2. The importance of marketing teams being familiar with the attached resources;
    3. and encourage relevant staff (in particular marketing teams) and also their agencies to sign up to receive ABAC news via this link.(ideally this link should be included in induction materials for new marketing staff, or a new agency).

  • 20 Oct 2022 1:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Technical Standards Project Group hosted the Scotch Whisky Association to discuss Geographical standards and other issues for the preservation of Whisky in a global context. You opened the meeting. The slides and video can be viewed in the Members Portal.

    The Safety and Sustainability Project Group hosted hosting a webinar on Sustainability certification on 5 September. It was very well attended with more than 100 registering.

    The beginning of November we will be hosting a webinar Inventory Management Systems and craft distillery management software hosted by Five x 5 Solutions.

  • 20 Oct 2022 10:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Along with the WADG, we have written to the WA government seeking funding for a project similar to the SA Industry Blueprint. The TWSA is in a similar position. We will do a similar project in the other states.

    Thank you to Manildra for sponsoring Adam PINKARD to attend their annual meeting and speak about safety. Those lucky enough to hear his talk on safety at the conference will appreciate the impact. If you missed it, go to the safety and sustainability page to watch the video.


    The working party for the Victorian Distillery door program has yet to receive Government sign off. However, we anticipate it to be approved soon. I have attached an update for the streams and the terms of reference for the group.

    In summary,

    • Each distillery with a distillery door will receive $70K in funding for distillery door improvements
    • Each distillery without a distillery door will receive $20K in funding for safety or sustainability works
    • Benchmarking report of the size, scope and Scale of the Victorian industry
    • Establishment of an Industry owned RTO to offer Cert III in distilling and Certificate IV in distilling, as well as free micro-credentials such as WHS, RSA, social media, etc
    • Development of a safety program
    • Development of an export portal for Victorian producers
    • Employment of a Project manager to promote the objectives of the distillery door program and safety program.

    After 12 months, the RTO will be available to all distillers, Australia wide. A rebate for each course will be paid to the Australian Distillers to enable ongoing funding and development.


    QLD tafe have agreed to establish a Certificate III and Cert IV in distilling to be offered to QLD distillers.

    Watch this space for more information.


    Update on the SA Container Deposit Scheme.
    In September 2021, a discussion paper was released for public consultation on reviewing South Australia’s container deposit scheme: Improving South Australia’s Recycling Makes Cents.

    In response to the discussion paper, the EPA received 250 submissions from the public, Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) stakeholders, environment and community groups, industry and government and a summary of these responses is now available here.

    Overall, consultation feedback showed support for modernising CDS operations. This includes new technologies, improved community accessibility and service experience and to introduce a more streamlined and effective CDS governance arrangement with a preference for a centralised scheme coordinator model and an improved fee structure.

    The State Government will continue to work directly with key stakeholders to develop draft legislative changes to improve the container deposit scheme for beverage producers, recyclers and the community. The EPA will be consulting on the draft legislation when it is prepared.

    The SA State Government proposes the alignment of container scope across all states and territories, establishing a single national approval portal and maintaining deposit amount (and reviewing if it should be increased) and notes it is continuing to be being progressed nationally.

    We will be writing to oppose the CDS to full bottled spirits because of the cost impact to small producers and there being little evidence that full spirit bottles are a significant feature of litter in Australia.


    Australian Distillers and Archie Rose hosted a unique event last month, a special behind the scenes tour of Archie Rose's new establishment at Banksmeadow. Thanks to Will and Dave for hosting us and sharing their story.

    NSW Container Deposit Scheme.
    This week, the NSW Government, through the EPA and Minister James Griffin (Environment) announced proposed changes to the NSW Container Deposit Scheme, Return and Earn.The NSW Government is proposing to include all beverage containers (non-alcoholic and alcoholic) between 150ml and 3L, except for plain milk and registered health tonics as part of the scheme.

    We will be writing to oppose the changes to full bottled spirits because of the cost impact to small producers and there being little evidence that full spirit bottles are a significant feature of litter in Australia.

  • 20 Oct 2022 10:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With the change in the federal government, we are advised that health bureaucrats are using this as an excuse to re-introduce problematic language to increase the scope of FSANZ beyond its current remit.

    Along with our colleagues at Spirits and Cocktails, The Australian Distillers view is that it is a good time to review and update the FSANZ Act to reflect contemporary needs for industry and consumers. There is scope to modernise the Act and improve efficiency in the regulatory system. It is important that FSANZ remain focused on its core business – ensuring consumers have confidence that food is safe through the regulation of additives and contaminants to prevent acute diseases and food handling processes are hygienic

    • This is important not just for Australians, but for our export markets as well
    • Its current resourcing means that some applications to reform the Code to respond to industry innovation can take many years

    Expanding FSANZ’s remit to include issues like sustainability and packaging will stretch its resources further into areas it does not have expertise. While FSANZ should ensure consumers have transparent information to make informed decisions, to expand its role to intervene in longer term disease from lifestyle and behavioural choices will duplicate its work with health agencies, creating regulatory complexity for industry. Health departments and the national drinking guidelines already have clear recommendations around the consumption of alcohol, and consumer education should be channelled through those agencies.

  • 20 Oct 2022 10:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Progress has been made on socialising the need for a Parliamentary inquiry into the spirits industry. We have recommended for the terms of reference to be:

    1. Examine the current and potential contribution of distilled spirits to the Australian economy and employment,
    2. Identify key barriers to growth of the industry, and propose solutions to address these barriers
    3. Identify the optimal regulatory framework and settings to promote sustainable growth

    Further details will be announced in the coming month.

  • 16 Sep 2022 12:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Notice from the City of Sydney - 'Open for feedback'.

    The City of Sydney is seeking your feedback. This annual survey will help them understand the continuing impacts of the pandemic, check on current business needs and monitor economic trends.

    8 August 2022 to 18 September 2022

    What we’re doing

    We invite you to share key insights on your business needs, priorities and operational challenges.

    We want to hear from City of Sydney retailers, creative businesses, tourism operators, hospitality owners, and businesses working in professional services and technology.

    Your responses will help shape our business support initiatives and ensure our recovery plan continues to align with your needs and priorities.

    Why we’re doing this

    First prompted by Covid-recovery, our previous surveys in 2020 and 2021 directly informed new initiatives to support business. These included activations like the al fresco city program, CBD activation grants, the CBD revitalisation campaign, outdoor dining initiatives, free capacity building programs like Reboot and Charge Up Challenge.

    How you can give feedback

    The survey closes at midnight on Sunday 18 September 2022.

    There are several ways you can provide your feedback:

    1. Complete our survey

    2. Email


  • 27 Jul 2022 6:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A record hike in Australia’s spirits tax will be a crippling “double whammy” for distillers and spirits manufacturers already battling some of the worst conditions in the history of the industry.

    The latest excise increase, based on CPI figures released today, comes on top of surging costs for freight, glass, cans and raw materials. The hike is estimated to translate to an additional $1 of tax to be paid on an average 700ml bottle of spirits (40% ABV).

    “This is effectively a double whammy on spirits,” said Spirits and Cocktails chief executive Greg Holland. “It’s the biggest increase in almost 50 years, since our tax figures were updated in 1978, and in that time spirits manufacturers have been slugged with the GST and the RTDs (ready-to-drink) tax as well. “

    Australia has the third highest spirits tax in world, under a complicated alcohol tax regime that has been condemned by multiple independent and government reviews.

    “We know all Australians are feeling the pain of inflation but this outdated tax regime means the spirits industry is effectively punished twice,” Mr Holland said.

    “Our members are already paying skyrocketing prices for inputs like barley, glass and cans, and facing freight charges that have more than doubled in some regions - and now they’re being asked to pay even more to the tax man.

    “It is also important to remember government data shows most Australians are drinking more responsibly, often choosing to enjoy quality offerings like a gin and tonic, bourbon and coke, dark and stormy cocktail, or a good scotch or Australian whisky. On top of all the other cost of living pressures they’re facing, those millions of Australian consumers will now likely be slugged even more as a result of this excise increase.”

    Australian Distillers chief executive Paul McLeay added: “This places an enormous burden on a local industry that barely existed a decade ago but is now highly acclaimed around the world, thanks to the hard work and creativity of Australian distillers. We should be celebrating them, not stifling them.”

    Examples of cost increases over the past 6-12 months, as reported by the major spirits manufacturers operating in Australia and local distillers include:

    • FREIGHT up 55% (average across air/sea; domestic/international)
    • CEREALS up 50% 
    • SUGAR up 25-30 % 
    • GLASS up 20-30% 
    • OAK BARRELS up 16% 
    • CANS up 12%

    Australia’s outmoded alcohol tax regime indexes spirits excise to inflation, creating a situation where the tax take from spirits compounds every six months and grows further out of proportion to other drinks containing the same proportion of alcohol. As a result, up to 60 per cent of the retail price of an average 700ml bottle of spirits in Australia is now tax.

    Automatic increases in line with the CPI mean the Federal Government’s average tax take from the distilling industry, which includes the manufacturing of premixed spirits, increases by $100 million – $120 million every year.

    Mr Holland said: “This tax is cannibalising our industry. It has an insatiable appetite; no matter how hard our distillers and manufacturers work to grow, it keeps taking more.

    “We look forward to working with the new Federal Government to build a more sustainable future for the Australian spirits industry.”



  • 27 Jul 2022 12:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As your membership is a corporate membership, if you have not already done so, you should add team members to your membership. Thank you to those that have already contacted us and uploaded their team members.

    If you are yet to do this, please complete the excel sheet here with all the information on each member, then email this back to our admin team and we will upload their information to the system. This will mean that all your team will be able to access the safety tool kits and other resources in the members portal and receive invites to our new upcoming events program.

    Please ensure your company record card is also complete with company logo, description and website address so you feature prominently in our directories.

    Simply login to the system with your email address and password and head to your main contact's profile. (Please note only the main corporate contact can add these details to their record card).

    If it is the first time you are accessing the system, then you will need to click 'forgotten password' and follow the prompts to set up a password.

  • 27 Jul 2022 10:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ABAC recently retained JWS Research to monitor compliance of a random selection of its signatories (including Australian Distillers Association members) with ABAC placement rule 2. This placement rule requires alcohol marketers to use all available age restriction controls to exclude minors from viewing its Marketing Communications.

    JWS Research have identified that the Instagram accounts and Facebook accounts of many of our members did not have available age restriction controls applied to prevent minors from accessing the account. Each member was contacted directly by the ABAC after it was advised in one of my newsletters, and they were asked to advise in relation to these accounts whether:

    • the accounts are within your reasonable control (or that of someone acting on your behalf)?
    • If not, explain your relationship with the account owner?

    If they did have control, they were provided with instructions on how to activate age restrictions. Instructions for age restriction controls across Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter and Snapchat can be found here.

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Australian Distillers Association

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Sydney, NSW, 2000

ABN 77 622 845 275

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