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Women Of Australian Distilling Launch On International Women's Day 2022

This International Women’s Day, we celebrate the launch Women of Australian Distilling and their brand new website.

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% of the workforce across manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing and hospitality. This stems from a higher share of female workers in hospitality (52%) as women make up just 36% of employees in spirits retailing, and approximately 10% of roles in distilling. “The under representation of women in male-dominated industries like distilling continues to affect gender equality and industry performance,” says Davies.

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.

Davies 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.

Photo: Brooke Apps, Kendell Gleeson and Roz Duarte - Nip of Courage team members
Photo: Brooke Apps, Kendell Gleeson and Roz Duarte - Nip of Courage team members

“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 Davies.

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.


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