About Us

Who we are

Distilled Spirits Aotearoa (NZ) Inc represents a group of distilled spirits manufacturers and associated groups and individuals, passionate about promoting our New Zealand-made products and representing the joint interests of all NZ makers of distilled spirit products.

Our Objectives

The main objectives of the DSA Society are:

  1. To protect the integrity, authenticity and brand value of distilled spirit products made in New Zealand
  2. To represent the joint interests of all New Zealand makers of distilled spirit products to government, media and consumers
  3. To promote New Zealand made distilled spirit products within New Zealand and throughout the world
  4. To promote the responsible consumption of distilled spirit products
  5. To establish industry standards and criteria where appropriate to promote consistency and quality across the NZ spirits industry
  6. To facilitate professional development, education and the exchange of information through cooperation, industry forums, seminars and workshops

Our Committee

Chairperson – Richard Wilson, Owner/Distiller, Sandymount Distillery
Secretary – Soren Crabb – Head Distiller and Owner, 1919 Distilling
Treasurer – Sue James – Technical Director, Juno Gin
Committee – Antony Michalik – Managing Director, The Spirits Workshop
Committee – Jamel Barber, Assistant Distillery Manager, Cardrona Distillery
Committee – Matt Bridge, Owner/Distiller, Lunatic & Lover
Committee – Wayne Chowles , Owner/Distiller, Kaimai Brewing and Distilling

Proudly bringing you…

NZ Spirits Awards

Committee History

Current Committee Members
Richard Wilson (Sandymount Distillery):- Committee member: May 2021 – June 2022; Chair: June 2022 –
Soren Crabb (1919 Distilling):- Secretary: May 2020 –
Sue James (Juno Gin):- Chair: Sept 2018 – June 2022; Treasurer Dec 2018 –
Antony Michalik (The Spirits Workshop):- Committee member: Sept 2018 –
Jamel Barber (Cardrona Distillery):- Committee member: March 2022 –
Matt Bridge (Lunatic & Lover):- Committee member: May 2021 –
Wayne Chowles (Kaimai Brewing and Distilling):- Committee member: June 2022 –

Past Committee Members
Ben Bonoma (Dancing Sands Distillery):- Treasurer: Sept 2018 – Dec 2018
Maria Grau (Rough Hands Ltd):- Committee member: Sept 2018 – June 2019
Chris Barlow (Barlovska Batch Liqueurs):- Committee member: Feb 2019 – May 2020.
Theo Arndt (Cardrona Distillery):- Committee member: May 2020 – July 2020
Grant Finn (The NZ Whisky Company):- Secretary: Sept 2018 – May 2020. Committee member: April 2020 – August 2020, Independent Committee member: August 2020 – April 2021
Brent Robinson (batch 10):- Committee member: Sept 2018 – April 2021
Isla Sherrington (Cardrona Distillery):- Committee member: May 2021 – March 2022
Rob Auld (Auld Distillery):- Committee member: Sept 2018 –

About Us

Richard Wilson – Owner/Distiller, Sandymount Distillery

Richard is currently distiller and owner of Sandymount Distillery in Dunedin. Over the last 15 years Richard has been director of a commercial property company, an operations manager in the arts and culture sector and has been working in governance in the facilities management industry. Richards experience is specialising in building plant and equipment. with a masters degree in professional practice, and board member of the Facilities Managers Association NZ, Richard is also a member of the Institute of Directors. Since 2018, Richard spends his time on his farm on the Otago Peninsula where he runs his distillery. Richards ambition is to work with the DSA to drive advocacy and collaboration within the industry in New Zealand.

Soren Crabb – Head Distiller and Owner, 1919 Distilling

Soren Crabb has lived in Auckland for the last 10 years. He is currently Head Distiller & owner of 1919 Distilling, and before this worked in the tourism sector overseas for 9 years. Soren has enjoyed watching the collaborative style in which the DSA Working Group has been formed, and wanted to join in and contribute towards his industry by further supporting this organisation. Outside of work Soren enjoys and makes the most of life through (Sailing, kitesurfing and good food)

Dr Sue James – Technical Director, Juno Gin

Sue spent 19 years in brewing operations at DB Breweries Ltd in Auckland, including her final role as National Operations Manager, running all four breweries in the DB Group. After leaving New Zealand in 2010 she spent seven years in Netherlands and UK in senior global Research & Development roles in the three largest brewing companies in the world. She returned to the New Zealand lifestyle with her husband at the end of 2017 and has now settled in New Plymouth. Her brother Dave and sister-in-law Jo launched Juno Gin (Begin Distilling Ltd) in 2015 and Sue provides support for their R&D programmes, technical expertise and distillery workforce whenever needed.

Antony Michalik – Managing Director, The Spirits Workshop Limited

After 24 years in the NZ Dairy Industry, working in management roles in Manufacturing, Business Development, Strategy and Innovation, both in NZ and overseas, Antony founded The Spirits Workshop in 2016 with three former colleagues. They have since December 2016 developed and released four gins under the Curiosity Gin brand and with help from Kenny Beverages distillery built up an aging stock of single malt whisky barrels. They are also the founders of New Zealand’s first gin festival, Gindulgence in an effort to establish a platform of events that help the NZ gin industry develop greater public recognition for our great products and brands. Antony firmly believes that cooperation and working together will help build a distilled spirits industry that can sit alongside New Zealand’s wine and beer industries in domestic and international reach and recognition.

Matt Bridge – Owner and Distiller at Lunatic & Lover

Welshman Matt Bridge is a professional Sailor by trade and somewhat inevitably developed a love of Rum after spending a great deal of time floating around the Caribbean. He still retains a presence in the leisure marine industry but 4 years ago, along with his wife and partner Angie, he decided to take the plunge and start up his own distillery here in New Zealand. Thus Lunatic & Lover was born and it opened its doors in 2020 with a view to specializing specifically in Rum and Rum related products. Matt is passionate about distilling quality spirits and in particular, the opportunity the industry presents within New Zealand.

Jamel Barber – Assistant Distillery Manager, Cardrona Distillery

Born and bred Cantabrian with strong family links to central Otago. Jam was initiated into the world of craft spirits whilst managing cocktail bars in Sydney. Being inspired by the likes of Bill Lark and Peter Bignell she came back to New Zealand passionate and inspired to grow New Zealand’s craft spirit industry. Upon completion of a BSc in Biochemistry and Food Science she began her career with Cardrona Distillery.

Wayne Chowles – Owner and Distiller, Kaimai Brewing and Distilling

Wayne is South African born and is a project manager and engineer by profession. He holds an MBA and is part owner of the Waikino Tavern in the Waikato. Typically, his journey in the alcoholic beverage industry began with home brewing beer. His inquisitive nature and love of fine spirits soon led him into the world of distilling, firstly as a hobby and, since 2020, as owner and distiller at the Kaimai Brewing and Distilling Company. Wayne is passionate about the New Zealand craft spirits industry and his ambition is to work with the DSA to encourage the growth of this industry while ensuring that reasonable measures are in place to ensure that integrity and quality standards are upheld.

Legal Structure

The Distilled Spirits Aotearoa (NZ) Inc was registered as an Incorporated Society under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 on 17 September 2018 (Certificate of Incorporation 2716891)

The Constitution of the Distilled Spirits Aotearoa (NZ) Inc can be found on the Companies Office Societies and Trusts site, by entering ‘Distilled Spirits Aotearoa’ in the search query.