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

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  • 26 May 2023 4:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Many members would be aware of the success of many Australian Distillers receiving awards at the recent San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This is the largest and most prestigious spirits competition in the world. It is built on a solid reputation they have developed over 43 years.

    The President and the Chief Executive have been in discussions with the organisers of the competition. They have raised concerns that several Australian Distillers have contacted them, in some cases, in threatening terms. We would like to remind all members of the important partnerships that are created by organisations who promote and expand spirit confidence to consumers. We see the SFWSC, along with many other competitions, as allies and supporters of our industry.

    This year, the SFWSC created a new category of Australian Single Malt Whisky and many of our distillers received acclaim. Congratulations to those members who received medals.

    Members are encouraged to conduct their own due diligence and understanding of rules and categories, prior to entering any competition. Rules of entry are different for each competition. In the case of SFWSC they have assured us that anyone can enter a product in their competition, at any stage of the commercialisation process. This year they received more than 6,000 entrants. Each entry is judged on the information provided and it is a blind testing.

    Members are reminded that they should not invoke or suggest any association or claim to speak on behalf of the Australian Distillers Association or body associated with the Association, when making requests or claims to any organisation.

    Members will be reminded that the only competition we officially endorse is the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards, that is hosted by Melbourne Royal. In the case of ADSA the following terms must be met:

    • Exhibitors must be registered with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as a licensed distiller or manufacturer and must provide a copy of their ATO Excise Manufacturer Licence (EML) during the entry process. If the exhibitor is not the manufacturer (distiller) of the product entered, the exhibitor warrants that they have the relevant permits and/or licences to enter the product.
    • Entries must be manufactured (distilled) and packaged in Australia.
    • Entries must comply with Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code – Standard 2.7.5 – Spirits and must not contain any illegal additives.
    • Entries must comply with the Australian regulatory requirements that apply in relation to product, labelling and excise (including the Excise Act 1901).
    • Entries must be of sound, marketable quality from a commercial production or batch, finished and sealed in their final container with Batch / Barrel / Cask / Bottle Numbers.
    • Entries must be commercially available in the precise composition and in the same packaging, including the labels, in which it is submitted for judging. Tank samples and especially bottled batches will not be accepted as entries into the competition.
    • An exhibit can be entered only once into the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards, however an exhibitor can enter multiple exhibits into a class so long as they can demonstrate a technical difference between the exhibits.

    Holly Klintworth

    Cam Syme
    Vice President

  • 26 May 2023 2:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Some tips and an offer from one of our 2023 Conference sponsors Midland Insurance.

    Midland Insurance are pleased to provide this distillery insurance fact sheet to Australian Distillers Members. This fact sheet provides some simple facts about insurance for distilleries, things to think about when starting a new distillery and how they’ll impact your insurance premium.

    Insurance Fact Sheet

    In addition to this, Midland Insurance will waive their broker fee for Australian Distillers members who take out a new insurance policy with Midland.

    To claim, make a note of this offer in the last field of our ‘Get In Touch’ form. Alternatively, give one of our offices a call and just mention the offer.

    Value of the broker fee is at least $80 and applies to the first year of cover only. New customers only. Offer valid in Australia only.

  • 26 May 2023 1:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today, Australian Distillers CEO, President, Vice President, and Chair of the Technical Standards Committee, held a meeting with a member who has been using the term “Single Malt” to describe a product.

    The member has agreed to stop using the term “Single Malt” to describe the product.

    They will use the term “Malt Spirit”, which is a long held industry standard which is appropriate for product less than two years of age that are 100% malted barley.

    The member has agreed to change all future labelling and marketing. They have agreed to re-label existing product in accordance with this agreement.

    The Australian Distillers Association maintains that all products that are sold or marketed as Whisky, including use of the term “Single Malt”, as well other dark spirits being Rum and Brandy, must comply with the definitions found in the excise Act that can be summarised as the product must be matured in wood for at least two years, and have the flavour, aroma and characteristics of the product it represents.

    Australian Distillers Association will continue to maintain the integrity of the industry and will work with members, the industry, retailers, Government and others to ensure legal definitions and requirements, including those referenced in the Australian distillers Association Code of Conduct, are adhered to.

    Holly Klintworth

    Cam Syme
    Vice President

  • 26 May 2023 1:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A message from one of our 2023 Conference sponsors FIVE x 5 Solutions.

    It was such a treat to meet you at the ADA Conference this year! We're already planning our next visit and are so excited for the opportunity to support Australian distilleries during such an electric time in the industry.

    One of the things we hear most often from distillery owners across Australia is the need for a software solution built specifically for distilleries to do more than just track bottled spirit stock. That’s exactly what we do. Our comprehensive distillery management software was built by distillers for distillers – it manages and streamlines your distillery operations, inventory control, and ethanol tracking so you can get out of Excel and back to doing what you love.

    Learn more in this video about how Fx5 helps Leigh Attwood over at Backwoods Distilling Co. do just that.

    Click the link to schedule your demo with us today!

    We also partner with Ian Senior with Refresh Accounting. Thoughtful and solutions-oriented, Ian provides advice as well as accounting services, taking a practical approach that leads to improved financial control and better profits. To learn more about Ian’s services, visit here or to get in touch you can email him here, or call him at 0480 230 534.


    FIVE x 5 Solutions 

  • 19 May 2023 1:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade...

    On behalf of the Members of Spirits and Cocktails Australia and the Australian Distillers Association, we register our appreciation at the ongoing engagement by Departmental officials regarding Australia’s Free Trade agenda. We receive useful and timely advice about the status of negotiations, and a receptive audience to the key priorities for our industry, as Australian-made spirits and pre-mixed spirits beverages look to expand their exports into new and emerging markets.

    We are aware that the Government of Ireland has notified the WTO’s Technical Barriers to Trade Committee of its intention to mandate changes to the labelling of alcohol beverages, including distilled spirits and pre-mixed spirits-based beverages (also known as RTDs – “Ready to Drink”). Section 12 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill in Ireland contains the obligation to provide health information and health warnings on beverage containers. These include warnings around the link between alcohol and pregnancy, cancers, and other disease, as well as calorie information and the number of grams of alcohol per container.

  • 27 Apr 2023 8:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A reminder that the Early Bird rate for the 2023 New Zealand Distillers' conference closes this Friday 28th April.

    It is a great time to celebrate your successes with your staff and colleagues after a massive couple of years.

    Take a team-building break and enjoy informative sessions from industry experts and scientists, join in collaborative discussions on the future of our industry, and meet suppliers at a Trade Expo specifically directed towards our distilling community.

    The conference is taking place at the Hilton hotel, in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland from Thursday 8th - Friday 9th June 2023.

    See below for more information and registration


  • 27 Feb 2023 3:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    FSANZ’s proposal for labelling includes the mandate that energy units (in kJ and Cals) for BOTH the 100ml measurement and the serving size must be labelling, and notes that voluntary labelling in the EU must be done in 100ml serves.

    There is another difficulty in the proposal. The format for the energy label is drafted as:

    The number of servings per container is to be included. But this may not equate to the number of standard drinks in the bottle, if the product has a non-standard ABV – for example, a gin at 41.5% ABV, with a standard drink size of 30ml, will come up with different numbers for number of servings and number of standard drinks in the container. This may cause confusion, and the FSANZ paper notes consumers do not understand the difference between a serving size and a standard drink.

    We will continue to advocate for energy labelling to be clear, consistent and not cause confusion for consumers. We have also argued that small producers be exempt.

  • 27 Feb 2023 3:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Along with Spirits and Cocktails Australia, we wrote to the Assistant Treasurer regarding our concerns about the correct application of taxation to alcohol beverage products, including new products, and brought to his attention the possibility that some products may not be classified correctly for taxation purposes. We believe there are products on the market presenting themselves as “brewed” but do not meet the definition of beer, and products marketed as pre-mixed spirits or liquers but are claiming Wine Equalisation Tax eligibility. While our associations wish to pursue broader alcohol tax reform, in the short term, we wish to ensure that products on the market are paying the correct tax rates.

    Two types of ready-to-drink beverages have grown in popularity recently: ‘hard seltzers’ and ‘fruity beers’. Hard seltzers are usually a mix of sparkling water with alcohol and flavours, with the alcohol base coming from either a distilled spirit or from a fermentation process, like brewing. Fruity beers are brewed products mixed with fruit flavours. While we are not privy to the private taxation matters of individuals producers, we are aware that fruity beers and some hard seltzers are labelled and marketed as “brewed”. The current alcohol excise structure provides for a much lower applicable tax to products which meet the definition of ‘beer’; however, there are strict criteria under the Excise Act for products to be eligible for this definition. In particular, the product must contain hops, or extracts of hops, or other bitters so that the beverage has no less than four international bitterness units. The product must also contain no artificial sweeteners.

    We have had a number of these products tested with the National Measurement Institute for international bitterness units and artificial sweeteners. A number of these products did not measure the requisite four IBUs, and at least one product had a high reading for the artificial sweetener aspartame. We do not believe these products meet the definition of beer for excise purposes, and should be taxed at the rate of “spirits and other excisable beverages”.

  • 27 Feb 2023 3:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In Queensland, you can apply for an artisan producer licence when the main function of your business is the production on the licensed premises of:

    • craft beer in volumes greater than 2,500 litres but less than 5 million litres in each financial year
    • artisan spirits in volumes greater than 400 litres but less than 450,000 litres in each financial year.

    This licence will allow you to produce and sell:

    • craft beer made on the licensed premises in an amount of greater than 2,500 litres but less than 5 million litres in each financial year
    • artisan spirits made on the licensed premises in an amount of greater than 400 litres but less than 450,000 litres in each financial year.

    You may also apply to sell your own craft beer and artisan spirits at promotional events for consumption at the event as a sample or for consumption away from the event. The total amount of craft beer that may be sold or supplied to each person for consumption away from the event is nine litres. The total volume for artisan spirits is 1.5 litres.

    The Queensland Distillers Association are campaigning for a trial to allow only those with an Artisan Producers License to also sell their products in Independent Grocery Stores that currently do not hold a Qld liquor and wine licence.

  • 27 Feb 2023 3:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A study tour has been proposed to be coordinated by Spirits and Cocktails Australia. The study tour will attend the DISCUS 50th Anniversary Conference in Chicago on 14-15 June 2023. DISCUS have proposed attending the conference and establishing distributor and trade show event to coordinate up to 12 producers who have capacity to, or who are interested in finding out more information to sell into the US market. This will be followed a visits to various craft and large American whisky and spirit producers. The schedule will also visit cooperages and the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits at the University of Kentucky.

    Expressions of Interest will be requested from Members with an approximate cost of $10,000 plus airfares. Participants may be able to qualify for EMDG grants to subsidise the cost. Members wishing to express an interest, should email our team via the link below and include the subject “JUNE USA DELEGATION”


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