The Women of Australian Distilling is celebrating International Women’s Day with the launch of a new website, which will help shine a light on female accomplishments in the industry and encourage women to shape their passions into careers.

Founded by Kathleen Davies in 2014, Women of Australian Distilling has become an important industry collective to promote, encourage and support women and those who identify as women, within the Australian craft distilling industry.

The group brings together women distillers around Australia and the industry’s peak bodies including Women in Hospitality (WOHO), Spirits & Cocktails Australia, Australian Distillers Association, The Australian Gin Distillers Association, and is also supported by Food & Beverage Media.

This fantastic initiative aims to support career development for women in diverse roles across the industry, including ambassadorship, marketing, administration, management, cellar door operations and more.

The group will provide a hub for female-led trade and consumer events, courses, networking, mentoring and personal development.

In a 2021 study of the Australian spirits industry conducted for Spirits & Cocktails Australia, Deloitte Access Economics found that women make up 48 per cent of the workforce across manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing and hospitality. This stems from a higher share of female workers in hospitality (52 per cent) as women make up just 36 per cent of employees in spirits retailing, and approximately 10 per cent of roles in distilling.

“The under representation of women in male-dominated industries like distilling continues to affect gender equality and industry performance,” says Kathleen.

Women working in male-dominated industries face a variety of challenges, including;

  • Not having the confidence to apply for career advancement
  • “Imposter syndrome”
  • Pay equity, for women and men working in equivalent roles
  • Lack of mentoring and career development opportunities
  • Sexual harassment
  • Fewer females in senior leadership positions as role models for aspiring female leaders
  • Isolation and exclusion.

Kathleen cites her early experience of working in the liquor industry in the 1990s as one of the key reasons for founding Women of Australian Distilling.

“During this time there was next to no female representation in middle and senior management positions in the companies I worked for, which were largely male dominated.

“There was no support and one to shine a light on women and their achievements.

“Women of Australian Distilling aims to change this, shining a light on women’s accomplishments and encouraging women to follow their passions in roles throughout the industry.

“There is a great opportunity to build confidence among women working in the industry to strive for leadership roles, fight for equal opportunity and genuinely build their careers in the Australian distilling industry,” says Kathleen.

The group will be supported by an advisory board with representatives across industry to help lead change. The board also provides a development opportunity for its female participants to gain experience acting on a board, through the mentorship and support of Paul McLeay, Chief Executive of Australian Distillers.

The inaugural Advisory Board Members include:

  • Harriet Leigh – Archie Rose Distilling Co.
  • Dervilla McGowan – Anther Spirits
  • Nicole Lestal – Spirits & Cocktails Australia
  • Kathleen Davies – Nip of Courage | NOC Wholesale
  • Paul McLeay – Australian Distillers Association

Visit Women of Australian Distilling’s new website to get involved and to subscribe to be notified about upcoming events and programs.

Food & Beverage Media is a proud partner and supporter of this initiative.

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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