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BRIE WARDEN

We put a call-out to the women in Australian distilling to give us an insight into who they are, and why they chose this industry, here’s some of their responses!


BRIE WARDEN

Assistant Distiller at Billson's Beverages, VIC


HOW MANY YEARS HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE INDUSTRY?


1-3 years.


WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN THE INDUSTRY?


I have loved whisky since visiting and living in Scotland. I loved doing all of the distillery tours and tastings, I couldn’t get enough. I got into gin during covid and my mum directed me towards Billson's - a local brewery/distillery to apply for once lockdowns ended. Working in the tasting room, my interest in gin grew and I would often help Trev, our lone distiller at the time, bottle and label our gin. I had the opportunity to join the distilling team from there and grow my interest even further.


YOUR MOST PROUD MOMENTS IN THE INDUSTRY?


Creating my first gin from R&D and recipe development to bottling and hand labeling the finished product. Even now whenever I see one of my products out in the world, on socials or on the shelf at the tasting room, I feel extremely proud. I am also proud of growing my confidence in a little over a year from just a helping hand to confidently managing the distillery space and all of the challenges that come with it.


WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND TO BE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES IN THE INDUSTRY?


One of the biggest challenges I face along with every other woman in the industry, is gender bias - I am often referred to as the “female distiller” whilst my male colleagues simply get “distiller". This attaches gender to my vocation, reaffirming gender stereotypes (conscious or unconscious) implying that I am not inherently suited to the profession of distilling due to my gender identity. When people see me as the “female distiller” it diminishes my authority and contribution to the industry by underestimating my abilities and negatively setting me apart. Due to the ratio of female to male distillers, it is imperative to celebrate women and other genders within this industry through championing our contribution and breaking gender bias. It is easy to fall into tokenistic gestures with good intentions, however it is important to celebrate our achievements rather than point out our differences. It is also a massive challenge to find durable women’s workwear that isn’t pink!


WHAT WOULD YOU TELL SOMEONE THAT KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT AUSSIE CRAFT SPIRITS?


The vast amount of craft distilleries in Australia with world class spirits is mindblowing - visit and taste as many and as much as you can.


WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU WOULD WANT TO TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?


It’s okay not to know what you want to do when you grow up, opportunities will present themselves to you (but maybe don’t waste your time on that teaching degree).


WHAT IS YOUR SPECIAL TALENT/PARTY TRICK?

My special talent is all things craft and being able to pick up any new craft quickly from painting to lino printing and cross stitch to crochet.


ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT US TO KNOW?

The work this organisation does to promote and support women and gender diverse people in this industry is amazing. It’s comforting to feel a part of a community of likeminded people in such a male dominated industry. I’ve met some amazing people through Women of Australian Distilling and now have some amazing women in the industry to look up to. Thank you!


WHO HAS INSPIRED YOU THE MOST IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?


Trev - my mentor and friend. One of the smartest people I know, he has taught be everything I know in this industry. He has been extremely patient and supportive of me and treated me like an equal. There are also many inspiring women in the distilling industry; Holly Klintworth, Carlie Dyer, Lisa Macrae and Leslie Gracie, just to name a few - I'd love to meet and work with them one day.






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