The Australian Distillers Association has elected its first female president at its AGM this week.

Holly Klintworth, Director and Distiller at Bass & Flinders Distillery in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, was elected to take over from outgoing president Stu Gregor of Four Pillars, who has been at the helm for eight years. Over this time, the Association grew from 30 members to over 400, and has achieved a number of big wins for the flourishing Australian distilling community.

Klintworth is excited to take on the role and continue this great work of the Association.

“The future is laced with opportunity for our incredible craft spirits industry which is at the frontier of truly incredible growth. As our industry continues to develop and innovate, my focus will be to ensure we gain greater recognition from Government on the contribution distilleries make to the Australian economy,” she said.

“With over 350 distilleries nationwide, and with over 65 per cent of these based in the regions, now is the time for Government to provide greater support through a fairer and more equitable taxation system; one that doesn’t further our discrimination as the third highest taxed spirits in the world.”

Klintworth also noted Gregor’s legacy and tireless advocacy that helped achieve the increase to the alcohol manufacturer remission scheme from $100,000 to $350,000 in the 2021 Federal Budget.

“When anyone thinks of Australian Distillers or Four Pillars, they think of the inimitable Stu Gregor. He encouraged Australian Distillers to be forward-thinking and to adopt a growth mindset. He demonstrated that our industry is capable of so much more,” Klintworth said.

“Stu was inspired by the generous spirit of Bill Lark and Spike Dessert who believed so passionately in lending a helping hand to the next generation of Australian distillers. Thank you to Stu for maintaining the legacy of the giants whose shoulders you stood on.

“I look forward to continuing your strong, reliable and committed leadership as we embark on the next chapter of our growth and embrace new opportunities to showcase incredible Australian spirits to an ever-growing and passionate Australian and global consumer base.”

Paul McLeay, Chief Executive of the Australian Distillers Association, said he was pleased to see another strong advocate for the industry step into the role of president. He noted how Klintworth has been a valuable and active member of the Association and its Committee of Management for more than five years, recently hosting more than 50 Australian distillers as part of the Mornington Peninsula tour of the 2022 Annual Conference.

“Holly Klintworth is well placed to shepherd the industry through this new phase of growth. As a second-generation distiller specialising in both gin and brandy, she has a deep insight into the challenges and opportunities the industry is facing and embracing,” McLeay said.

“I am excited that someone with such experience, optimism and professionalism is leading our membership through the next phase of our growth. Ms Klintworth’s ability to be a strong advocate for our industry will be an invaluable asset in advancing our discussions with Government.”

After the AGM, the other leaders of the Australian Distillers Committee of Management will continue in their roles, with Cameron Syme of Great Southern Distilling Company remaining as vice president, and Stephen Parry of Pattex Distillery remaining as secretary/treasurer. The Committee has also welcomed several new members, including Cameron Mackenzie of Four Pillars (VIC), George Georgiadis of Never Never Distilling Co. (SA), Adam Pinkard of Adams Distillery (TAS) and Kate Sinfield of Sin Gin Distillery (WA).

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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