Australian Distillers welcomed three new inductees into its Hall of Fame at its annual conference in Brisbane this week, with Bellarine Distillery’s Lorelle Warren and Four Pillars’ Cameron Mackenzie recognised along with a posthumous induction for Bundaberg Rum’s Graham Golchert.

The trio join six others in the Australian Distillers Hall of Fame, after the four founding fathers of the modern Australian craft distilling scene became the inaugural inductees in 2022. The first four were Bill Lark, Cameron Syme, Patrick Maguire and posthumously Raymond ‘Spike’ Dessert. Lyn Lark & Stu Gregor were inducted in 2023.

Guests heard that Golchert, who became known to his peers as ‘Mr Bundy’, began his career as a chemist in the sugar mills surrounding Bundaberg, while helping out on the family cane farm in his spare time.

“In 1975, Graham came across a special place where he commenced a new job, or actually a journey, that would well and truly cement his identity in the Australian distilling industry,” said Queensland Distillers Association President Dave Ridden.

“Graham spent 42 fulfilling years working at Bundy. It was quite obvious that to him, this was more than a job, and the distillery in fact became part of Graham.”

Graham Golchert’s award was accepted on the night by his daughter Katrina Golchert (pictured above).

Bellarine Distillery said: “[We are] extremely proud to announce that our very own Lorelle Warren has been inducted into the Australian Distillers Hall of Fame for her service to the industry and her pivotal role in securing $20m of Victorian state grants that are currently helping Victorian Distilleries with safety compliance, education, and distillery door infrastructure.

“This award is an amazing achievement and a wonderful acknowledgement of the hard work and commitment that Lorelle has given to the distilling industry.”

Cameron Mackenzie has been a driving force behind the global success of Four Pillars, and he was understandably delighted by this local recognition.

“Being the seventh inductee to the AD Hall of Fame is truly an honour,” Cameron says. “Of course, Stuart [Gregor] had to beat me in as inductee number six last year.

“But this really is a testament to how far Four Pillars and Australia’s craft distilling industry has come over the last ten years. When we first started out, there were a handful of people making gin in Australia and we were just a few blokes in the back of a winery with a single copper still.

“Now I’m standing in a room alongside hundreds of innovators and leaders in the craft industry… it’s an incredible decade to celebrate.”

Australian Distillers Association chief executive Paul McLeay said the inductions have become a highlight of the conference since the Hall Of Fame was introduced in 2022.

“I am delighted to welcome these three outstanding individuals to the Hall Of Fame in the Australian Distillers Association’s 20th anniversary year,” he said.

“Graham, Lorelle and Cameron have made a significant contribution to the industry beyond their own businesses. Their effective advocacy and knowledge sharing has built a stronger distilling industry in Australia.

“They rightfully take their place in the Hall Of Fame alongside their fellow industry legends and pioneers.”

McLeay said the Gala Dinner ceremony was a fitting end to the conference, which attracted record attendance of over 500 distillers and exhibitors.

“Having such a great turnout, in spite of the difficult economic circumstances we are all facing, clearly demonstrates the strength and resilience of the Australian distilling industry,” he said.

This year’s Australian Distillers Conference celebrated 20 years of the association, and was widely recognised as its best conference yet with a wide variety of expert speakers and presentations as well as an excellent, interactive trade show.

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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