In pictures: Women of Australian Distilling IWD lunch

On Friday 8 March, Women of Australian Distilling hosted an International Women’s Day lunch at The Waratah in Darlinghurst, celebrating women’s achievements in the emerging Australian craft distilling industry.

Harriet Messenger, General Manager of Marketing and Hospitality at Husk Distillers, led the program which included speeches from four female pioneers who are helping to shape the industry.

Harriet spoke about the importance of promoting, encouraging and supporting women and gender diverse people within the Australian distilling industry, and the incredible work of the Women of Australian Distilling collective, before inviting Amanda Lampe, Director of Corporate Relations at Diageo Australia, to share her story.

Amanda shared her observations of the distilling industry, and her own journey through corporate affairs to the position she holds now.

“In Australia we have come a long way and we are extremely lucky, […] but I think it’s really important that we’ve got more women in business, and more women in every part of our economy,” she said.

Hannah Brecknell, Venue and Events Manager at Manly Spirits, looked to this year’s International Women’s Day theme Inspire Inclusion, and spoke about what inspires her as a woman. Sharing the inspiration she takes from creativity and individuality, Hannah also explained how she is inspired every day by Manly Spirits Co-Founder Vanessa Wilton’s determination.

“It’s nice to work for somebody that absolutely works their socks off, but also is such an inspiring person in more ways than one. It’s great to have a boss to look up to, who is so successful, and is also a woman.

“Vanessa is half of Manly Spirits, along with her husband David, but Vanessa really is the brand. From the unique bottle design to the packaging that leaves the warehouse, she is all over everything. If I could name any woman that inspires me in business, it would be Vanessa, and I feel very lucky to sit next to her at my desk every day and have somebody who is so successful at my fingertips.”

Concluding her speech, Hannah also reminded the audience of the importance of reflecting on our own achievements as women, and using International Women’s Day as a reminder to celebrate the accomplishments of not just those around us, but ourselves also.

Joining the lunch from Archie Rose was Spirit Blender Silvia Segato, who was born and raised in Italy, but has spent her recent years living and working in Australia. For Sylvie, believing in her own strengths formed the foundation of a vibrant career in liquor and hospitality that has taken her around the world.

“Never stop trusting yourself, it is the most powerful skill you can have. The rest can be taught. Everybody can become a distiller, everybody can become a spirit blender, everybody can become whatever they want to be, as long as you believe in yourself,” she said.

Finally, Ed Svehla, Co-Owner of Banks & Solander Distillery, shared an insightful glimpse into her strict religious upbringing, and her journey from a world where she was not allowed to consume alcohol, to founding a boutique micro distillery with her husband Marty.

Although it took a long time for Ed to reach the place she is today, she shared her pride in all she has achieved along the way.

“I think the success of our distillery is down to all four of us, [Ed, Marty, Productions Manager and Distiller Sam Stefani, and Sales Representative Lucas Bucton]. Each of us have strengths, and being inclusive means that everybody has a voice.

“Owning a small business is hard work, but it’s so rewarding. As you know, this industry has historically been male-dominated, but I have felt the most accepted here.

“I grew up being told what my place as a woman was. I didn’t agree with it, so I changed it,” Ed concluded.

Guests at the event, which was open to all, enjoyed a set menu that showcased local producers and growers and native produce, paired with five cocktails using local spirits crafted by some of the women attending and curated by Andie Bulley, Creative Lead at The Waratah.  

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