When the Australian Distillers Association (ADA) was formed in 2004 it had 33 members, yesterday 175 distillers, bar owners and other ADA members logged in for the annual conference, which was held ‘virtually’ for the first time.
That’s a simple reflection of just how far the industry and the association has come in a relatively short period of time with the ADA currently enjoying 250 members from across all states, territories and overseas.
This year’s conference invited a number of guest speakers both in the studio and online to talk about a whole range of issues impacting Australian distillers today. From taxation and legislation to virtual events, alcohol marketing and distillery safety it was a hugely successful and informative day.
ADA President and Co-Founder of Four Pillars, Stu Gregor told Bars and Clubs: “I thought it went really well. I think the content was good and I hope we covered the sphere from industry matters to marketing matters and safety and regulatory matters.
“From a content point of view I hope that we managed to engage everyone at some time or another.”
He added: “From an industry point of view it was great to get 175 people online and together, although we are not actually together, and much kudos to Mimma and Kathleen for putting everything together because without them it would not have happened.”
That’s Mimma White, ADA Executive Officer and Kathleen Davies, Nip of Courage, who were fundamental in organising the day and it is a huge credit to them both just how well everything went.
As well as hearing from Angus McPherson, MD of Diageo and Greg Holland CEO of Spirits and Cocktails Australia guests also saw presentations from Thorsten Hartmann of The IWSR detailing how they believed markets around the world will recover from the pandemic and what the crucial categories will be for Australia.
The conference also saw the ADA host its AGM, which saw Gregor re-elected as President, Vice President Cameron Syme of Great Southern Distilling and Treasurer Kalyn Fletcher of Hoochery were also re-elected into their respective committee positions.
On his re-election Gregor told Bars and Clubs: “It’s great to feel like you’ve got the support of the industry and good to contribute to an industry that’s been great to you.
“I think industry bodies like this become more important the longer you are in an industry. That’s why I would encourage anyone who is new to the industry and who doesn’t necessarily see the value in a body like ours, maybe speak to some people who have been in the industry a little longer and get a sense of why it is important.
“While we compete day-to-day there is a lot more that we have in common than tears us apart. All of the distillers are fantastic and we should all wish other well and hope that the industry continues to grow.
“Sometimes I feel like this industry doesn’t know how good it is and how big it can become. I think days like yesterday hopefully inspire people to realise they shouldn’t be shy in their ambition, they should be bold in their ambition.”