Leigh holding a glass of Backwoods whisky at Capitol Hill
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Yackandandah whisky showcased at Chicago Conference

Jul 15, 2023

Recently, Yackandandah's Backwoods Distilling Co. proudly represented Australia at the Distilled Spirits Council of America Conference in Chicago. Founder and Distiller Leigh Attwood joined a select group of Australian distillers in showcasing their exceptional Australian whiskies and spirits to over 500 industry wholesalers, distributors, and retailers. The group received high commendations for the quality of their spirits and gained the attention of importers.

Leigh serving tasting of Backwoods whisky at the Chicago conference

This conference was an excellent opportunity for Australian producers to establish new partnerships and explore the possibility of introducing Australian spirits into the American market. Following the conference, Leigh and the delegation of Australian distillers visited Kentucky to explore the heart of the American Bourbon industry. They had exclusive access to behind-the-scenes tours of renowned American distilleries, such as Michter's, Angel's Envy, James E Pepper, Buffalo Trace, Jim Beam, and Jack Daniels. They spent time with the master distillers and production teams, gaining extensive knowledge of unique production processes in the United States.

Leigh and fellow Aussie distillers on a tour of distilleries in USA

The trip concluded in Washington DC, where the group met with the Australian Deputy Head of Mission, Mr. Paul Myler, near Capitol Hill. Hosted by the Distilled Spirits Council of America, the attendees had a productive discussion on the challenges that Australian producers face in entering the American market. The major obstacle identified was the Australian excise tax regime, which is currently the third highest globally. This tax regime is hindering growth and access to overseas markets for Australian producers.

Leigh holding a glass of Backwoods whisky with Capitol Hill in the background

Despite this obstacle, there is much appetite for Australian spirits in the American market, and the group is working hard towards making this a reality soon. The Australian distillers showcased their exceptional spirits and gained valuable insights into the American market. This trip has paved the way for establishing new partnerships and exploring the possibilities of introducing Australian spirits into the American market.