The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

The Distillers Institute New Zealand launches to help local businesses

Marcel Thompson, Anne Gigney, Troy Trewin, Brett Steel and Ian Thorn

The Distillers Institute has announced its launch into New Zealand, to help aspiring and existing distillers to successfully start and grow their distilling or spirits business.

Led in New Zealand by Craft Spirits Advocate Marcel Thompson, best known for his books Still Magic and Gin Ventures, TDI NZ has a goal of “building a compliant, robust and sexy distillery business that will withstand the test of time”.

Alongside Thompson, the team is made up of:

  • Anne Gigney – best known in Australia for delivering distilling training through IBD and the Tasmanian Whisky Academy.
  • Troy Trewin – Chair of the NZ Whisky Collection for many years and lead of the Grow a Small Business Podcast.
  • Brett Steel – who ran Tasman Whisky Tours, started Tasmanian Whisky Week and now owns the Spirit Thief Whisky Brand.
  • Ian Thorn – the Asia Pacific Trainer for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and the international lecturer for their technical courses.

TDI NZ is offering a ‘Planning your Successful New Zealand Distillery’ course, which takes new and existing distillers through a roadmap of all the aspects they need to consider when starting a distilling business.

  1. The vision and business plan;
  2. The financial model and how to make sure you get it right;
  3. The marketing plan and what to do and understand;
  4. Distribution;
  5. Raising capital and choosing business partners;
  6. Compliance, safety and preparing for the build;
  7. Licencing and role of NZ Customs.

The New Zealand students will also join the TDI distilling community which currently has 440+ students, primarily in Australia.

“This is all about raising the bar,” says Anne Gigney. “It’s about professionalism. It’s about making great decisions right at the outset so you know where you are now, where you’ll be in a year and where you’ll be in 10.”

Gigney says with around 65% of NZ micro or small businesses at risk of failure, TDI’s goal is to future-proof the people heading into the industry.

“There are critical decisions to be made for distilling businesses, and many of these will be dependent upon what you as the owner want to get out of it,” she says.

The course is 100% designed for the NZ market, including links to all the Customs NZ requirements and others. For more information, visit

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