The Australian Distillers Association is celebrating its 20-year anniversary at its annual conference, which is taking place in Brisbane this week.

The conference was officially opened this morning with welcomes from Glenn Butcher, Queensland’s Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water and Tim Ayres, the Federal Minister for Manufacturing and Trade.

Australian Distillers’ President Holly Klintworth also welcomed attendees to the conference, highlighting the growth of the association and some of the challenges facing Australia’s distilling industry.

“As an industry that makes $15bn worth of contributions to the Australian economy, I say to you today that we are ready to answer the call to build a strong and sustainable manufacturing base in Australia.

“2024 marks an important moment in our history as we celebrate 20 years of the Australian Distillers Association. Our history is rich tapestry of which we should immensely proud of.

Australian Distillers President Holly Klintworth

“For this year’s very special 20th anniversary conference, we will not only be looking back at how far we have come, we will also look forward to the wonderful things yet to come. As we do look to the future we are mindful to celebrate and maintain that culture of our association’s forbearers of being open and welcoming to newcomers to the industry and to share knowledge and assistance to support our collective growth.

“As a distiller and small business owner myself, I know first-hand that we really have it tough this last year, so solidarity and support are now more important than ever. Since last year’s conference, we have faced a cost of living crisis and we have seen this play out at our distillery doors and in on- and off-premise venues.

“It has forced to reflect on how we do business differently and respond to the challenges that we face today and pre-empt the opportunities of tomorrow. But we also know these issues are not confined to our industry and many of us have looked on with concern at what is happening to the craft brewing industry at the moment. And our hearts go out to ours friends in the brewing industry who are doing it tough.

“There is much more that Government can do to support both our industries to ensure that we can continue to ensure we make a positive contribution to Australia’s beverage manufacturing industry.”

Australian Distillers Association Chief Executive Paul McLeay said the spirits manufacturing industry has made tremendous progress over the last two decades since the association was formed.

“There were just a handful of distilleries operating in Australia in 2004, when our association held its first formal meeting,” he said.

“Twenty years on, there are 700 distilleries and manufacturing plants spread across Australia.

“Over 400 members and 100 exhibitors have come to Brisbane to celebrate our progress and contemplate our future.”

The conference continues today and tomorrow and The Shout will continue to bring you news from Brisbane as the association looks at ways to tackle the issues facing the industry now and how to continue to grow in the years ahead.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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