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

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  • 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”


  • 27 Feb 2023 3:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The ISC has partnered with the Australian Distillers Association to offer an annual fellowship. The fellowship offers the successful candidate an all expenses paid trip to Kentucky USA including:

    • Tour of ISC Kentucky Cooperage – maker of spirit barrels for many of the great bourbon distillers of the USA
    • Tour of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Cooperage – suppliers of quality used bourbon barrels
    • Tour of select ISC Distillery clients
    • Spirit barrel Oak 101 and tasting with ISC R&D Director – Andrew Wiehebrink
    • Accommodation and meals
    • Return airfares


    Nominations closed end of December 2022. 20 nominations were received and they were of excellent standard. Six were shortlisted and interviewed by the selection panel made up of Patrick Schwerdt from Independent Stave Company, Cam Syme, Vice President and the Chief Executive. Winner to be announced at the 2023 Australian Distillers Annual Conference in Melbourne.

  • 27 Feb 2023 3:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The partnership with the Victorian Government for the $5million per year over the next four years has been progressing successfully.

    Industry and Government has agreed to four streams for the funding.

    Stream One – Jobs and Skills

    • Industry Analysis: Engagement of a consultant to undertake industry analysis including potential forward plan for the sector.
    • Industry support: Engagement of a Full time Industry Development Officer
    • Education and Training: Development of the National Distilling Institute (more below)
    • Promotion to encourage Uptake of existing programs, including mentoring and concierge and core business support.

    Stream Two – Boosting Visitor Economy

    • Delivery of a grant program that will increase visitor flow through distillery doors. Eligible expenditure to be capped at $70K per enterprise that has a distillery door, with co-contribution.
    • Development of an interactive map for Victorian distillery doors.

    Stream Three – Infrastructure

    • Support for individual businesses to increase business capability and efficiency through investment and improvements in on-site infrastructure.
    • $20K per enterprise that does not have a distillery door, must be used on safety or sustainability.

    Stream Four – Export market development

    • Identification of current export development activities in Global Victoria such as outbound or inbound trade missions and develop additional distiller streams.
    • Development of a dedicated distillery page on the export hub that includes information on export requirements, market access issues for key markets, FTA information.
    • Analysis on specific market opportunities and requirements for Victorian spirits to targeted markets.
    • Review of other similar sector export strategies

    The Victorian Government has funded a position of an Industry Development Officer to assist in the Victorian Distillery Door Program. The grant was provided to the Australian Distillers Association to recruit and manage the role. Funding is confirmed for 18 months, but is expected to continue, subject to meeting the grant objectives. Whilst Richard is managed by the Australian Distillers, the strategy and direction comes from Spirits Victoria Association. Victorian members are encouraged to welcome Richard to the role and reach out to him if you have any issues. Richard can be contacted below.


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Sydney, NSW, 2000

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