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 & Treasurer – Sue James – Technical Director, Juno Gin
Secretary – Soren Crabb – Head Distiller and Owner, 1919 Distilling
Committee – Rob Auld – Managing Director, Auld Distillery
Committee – Antony Michalik – Managing Director, The Spirits Workshop
Committee – Isla Sherrington, Distillation Team Leader, Cardrona Distillery
Committee – Matt Bridge, Owner/Distiller, Lunatic & Lover
Committee – Richard Wilson, Owner/Distiller, Sandymount Distillery

Proudly bringing you…

NZ Spirits Awards

Committee History

Current Committee Members
Sue James (Juno Gin):- Chair: Sept 2018 – ; and Treasurer Dec 2018 –
Soren Crabb (1919 Distilling):- Secretary: May 2020 –
Rob Auld (Auld Distillery):- Committee member: Sept 2018 –
Antony Michalik (The Spirits Workshop):- Committee member: Sept 2018 –
Isla Sherrington (Cardrona Distillery):- Committee member: May 2021 –
Matt Bridge (Lunatic & Lover):- Committee member: May 2021 –
Richard Wilson (Sandymount Distillery):- Committee member: May 2021 –

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

About Us

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 settled in Dunedin where her husband has a position at Otago University. Her brother Dave and sister-in-law Jo launched Juno Gin (Begin Distilling Ltd) in 2015 and she has been supporting their R&D programmes and providing technical expertise where needed. Sue is a Chartered Scientist, a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors, and continues to contribute to education programs and scientific writing for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

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)

Robert Auld – Managing Director, Auld Distillery

Robert is a born and bred Southlander with a passion for growing and making things. He divides his time between two jobs, Managing Director of the family’s third generation grain and sheep farm for 18 years and Managing Director of Auld Distillery, founded in 2017 with his wife Toni and three young boys on the family farm in Southland. Robert is currently involved in the New Zealand grain industry in a number of roles including sitting on the Research and Development Advisory Board for the Foundation of Arable Research. Since graduating from the Rabobank Executive Development Programme in 2017 Robert has enjoyed learning and developing further governance skills.  Rob was keen to support the set-up and continued governance of the DSA to allow knowledge sharing, industry training and collaboration, and growing the success of our industry.

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.

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.

Isla Sherrington, Distillation Team Leader, Cardrona Distillery

Bio to come…


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.