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ADA Conference and AGM

Given the current situation with COVID, the
Australian Distillers Association's Annual Conference
has been re-scheduled and moved to
3-5 April 2022.

The AGM will still be held online on Monday 15 November2021. 
Further details regarding the ADA AGM will be sent to Members shortly. 
The Conference is supported by  

Deregulation Taskforce

The Deregulation Taskforce, established out of the office of Prime Minister and Cabinet, has been active in pursuing reform of the excise and excise-equivalent goods regime to remove regulatory barriers and make it easier for businesses to grow and create jobs.
Several ADA members participated in a “factory floor” review that was conducted by the Taskforce to inform a discussion paper, which includes anonymised case studies built on insights gleaned through the experiences of industries impacted by excise. The discussion paper is attached for the Committee’s information.
While much of the deregulation agenda is focussed on importers of fuel and alcohol, there is some room for efficiency for Australian Distillers.
To this end, KPMG have been engaged by the taskforceto undertake economic costings and impact analysis. On Monday, the ADA will send all Full Members of the Association a survey request which we ask you to complete as soon as possible.

Indicative survey questions may include:
  • How much time do you spend applying for an excise licence?
  • How much time do you spend calculating and reporting excise returns?
  • Do you tend to hire tax agents/custom brokers to assist you in excise processes?
I appreciate that our Members may be suffering some survey fatigue. I do appreciate the effort that goes into these processes and hope it will contribute to meaningful reforms that will deliver long-term savings to the industry.
Please take the time to participate in the survey. You will be able to answer every question without getting additional data. Use your best endeavours and recollections.

Economic impact study – Deloitte

ADA Members were asked to participate in an industry-first economic impact study to map the contribution of the Australian spirits industry to the Australian economy. The study has been commissioned by Spirits & Cocktails Australia, who engaged Deloitte Access Economics – one of Australia’s most trusted economic and policy advisories.

The study will provide a robust and credible evidence base that will elevate the industry’s advocacy and engagement with government and stakeholders on important issues like tax reform and industry development. It will help to provide a better understanding of the industry’s current economic contribution and potential for growth, while also offering a baseline against which we can measure our progress over time.

60 ADA Members provided information to Deloitte via an industry survey, which was hosted on their secure In-house platform. The information we provided will assist Deloitte to accurately estimate the direct and indirect contributions of the industry as a whole, and will help to validate publicly available information.

Deloitte is currently analysing the results of the industry survey and is on track to deliver a draft report in September. The report will be shared with the ADA once this analysis has been completed. The report will be used extensively over the next twelve months and beyond. It will inform our pre-budget submission, negotiations with Government and will be an important benchmark when we repeat the exercise into the future.

Ministerial Responsibility - Agriculture

The Australian Spirits Industry is recognised mainly within the Treasury portfolio because Ministerial responsibility for the Australian Spirits Industry currently sits within the Treasury portfolio because the Australian Government see us as little more than a revenue-generator.

However, through sustained advocacy and collaboration with Spirits & Cocktails Australia, we are slowly gaining traction to shift Ministerial responsibility for the industry into the Agriculture portfolio. Achieving such a shift would provide greater focus and emphasis on industry development and could over time, provide opportunities for the industry to access grants and schemes administered by the Department of Agriculture to facilitate our continued growth.

Earlier this week, the office of the Minister for Agriculture, David LIttleproud, wrote to acknowledge the possibility of capturing the distilling and brewing industries under the Minister’s portfolio, recognising the “use of agricultural raw ingredients and the expansion of these industries in regional Australia.” The wine industry already sits within the Agricultural portfolio.

Food Standards and Energy Labelling

In November 2019, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation endorsed a plan to reform the Bi-national Food Regulation System. A key component of the reform agenda is the review of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 (FSANZ Act). The FSANZ Act Review will include a comprehensive examination of the effectiveness of the FSANZ Act and the associated operations and responsibilities of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

In January, ADA, via our membership of Alcohol Beverages Australia (the pan-industry association for beer, wine and spirits producers) contributed a submission to the Department of Health consultation, which like other industry positions, was not reflected in the subsequent release of the Draft Regulatory Impact Statement.

The ADA co-signed an industry letter to the Chair of Food Ministers (Minister Colbeck), copying a number of key Government backbench influencers. Our main argument was that the review strayed from its original intent. We believe that proposals in the Draft Regulatory Impact Statement to expand the FSANZ remit more substantially into population and preventative health and food and farm sustainability could jeopardise this opportunity to deliver an effective and well- resourced food safety framework and streamlined FSANZ processes. Additionally, the proposed changes to the governance and decision-making processes risk the loss of Ministerial oversight and input.

In parallel, FSANZ is carrying out a review of energy labeling on alcoholic beverages.
The following is the position the ADA has adopted in our negotiations:
  1. Support for pursuing a voluntary agreement with FSANZ on energy labelling that would provide certainty against the possibility of a future mandated proposal
  2. Agreement to maintain consistency with other food labelling – display of kilojoules and for the industry to have the option to also include calories if desired.
  3. Allow display of information in per serve (container size for RTDs, and standard drink for spirits) and flexibility in per 100mL due to the unique nature of alcoholic beverages compared to other beverages.
  4. Use of a gravity and carbs formula for calculating energy content for spirits.
We have also shared a series of non-negotiables with FSANZ, including:
  1. No mandating of certain colours or size
  2. No requirement for scientific or lab testing to determine kilojoules
  3. Not on front of pack – back label solution only
  4. Set markers on what voluntary success looks like – percentage of liquor shoppers’ baskets, rather than percentage of all labels
  5. Three-year transition period for any mandated proposal (cannot be aligned to Pregnancy Warning label implementation date).

ABA Newsletter – Cheers to the People

The pan-industry body, Alcohol Beverages Australia, representing beer, wine, spirits producers and the people who sell and serve them, has launched a newsletter seeking to share relevant news and updates on industry issues and current campaigns.


The ABA encourages Members of the ADA to  subscribe to learn more about the role ABA plays in representing the best interests of our industry.

Covid Safe activities

I hope all members are supportive of each other in these difficult times and doing everything they can to keep themselves, their staff and customers safe during Covid. One thing I have found during these times of uncertainties is to take the opportunity to read some more. We are enjoying the reading the new Portfolio Magazine from Nip of Courage who chose the name '1992' to acknowledge the long and storied history of craft distilling in Australia which started with Bill Lark lobbying his local government to change an outdated distilling law. That's why, for the first cover they chose Bill Lark, and why in the first half of '1992' you'll find a story about the history of spirit distilling in Australia among many other stories about the Australian distilling world including an excellent piece encouraging all Australian Distillers to join the ADA. Thanks Kathleen! Brilliant read. My daughter, Alex, is even keeping warm in the Nip of Courage hoodie.
We are also reading Australian Gin – The Book by David Box which contributions by and stories about Jon Lark (KI Spirits), Dave Irwin and Matt Argus (Patient Wolf), Cameron Mackenzie (Four Pillars) and Phillip Jones (The Martini Whisperer) who open up the world of Aussie gin. And of course, there is the classic Tasmanian Whisky – the Devil’s Share by Bernard Lloyd, with a forward by Bill Lark that is a must read for anyone with an Australian Whisky interest or passion.
By the way, the adults are enjoying a Bloody Shiraz and tonic and Lemon Myrtle Honey Vodka from Dean and his brilliant team at Cape Grim 666 Vodka.
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