Wine retailer Cellarmasters and liquor retailer BWS have joined forces to create Australia’s first drinks festival with an all-women lineup. The inaugural Meet the Makers: Women in Beer, Wine & Spirits is taking place in Sydney’s Australian Technology park, kicking off with a session on Friday 8 March, International Women’s Day. Two more sessions will follow on Saturday 9 March, with up to 30 winemakers, distillers and brewers serving samples during the festival.

Winemakers include Gwyn Olsen from Briar Ridge and Pepper Tree Wines, Sarah Pidgeon from Wynns Coonawarra and Elena Brooks from Dandelion. Brewers and distillers include Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen from Two Birds Brewing, Laura Carter from Applewood Distillery and Jaz Wearin from Modus Operandi.

“We want to shine a well-deserved spotlight on women in winemaking, distilling and brewing, which are traditionally male dominated industries. But thanks to these trailblazing women, this is now changing,” says Christine Ricketts, cellar director at Cellarmasters.

The number of women employed in wine making is estimated to be 38 percent. However, when it comes to leadership and senior roles, representation has been estimated at 10 percent or less according to data from the 2016 census.

According to the Australian Distillers Association, women make up approximately 15 percent of distillers in the industry. There are no official stats on the number of women working as brewers in Australia.

“Although the industry is changing, there’s still a long way to go. This event is all about celebrating women in beer, wine and spirits and giving customers an opportunity to meet these incredible women and try their products,” says Vanessa Rowed, BWS head of marketing.

Tickets for sessions as well as additional masterclasses are now available. 

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