A Yackandandah distillery recently opened its doors to the public, but fears it won't be able to grow due to Australia's significant tax on spirits.
Owners Bree and Leigh Atwood continued to work other jobs when Backwoods Distilling Co was born in 2017 and were stalled by last year's bushfires and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the distillery door finally open to the public, the couple need the ability to increase production of their signature whiskys and gins to meet the demand, but have been held back by the Australian government's spirit tax - the third-highest in the world.
Mrs Attwood said there had been 22 tax increases on spirits in the past 10 years and distillers had a different set of rules to beer and wine producers.
"I find it quite contradictory because of the higher alcohol content of spirits, they're taxing higher because they want people drinking less," she said.
"But we pay 20 times the tax paid on cask wine, so your cheaper bulk alcohol is being taxed less than a high quality bottle of whisky that could last somebody two years.
"We're really putting forward that message of 'drink less, but drink better'.
"You're wanting people to spend $150 on a bottle of whisky that they will keep and share with friends on special occasions.
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"It's contradicting what the government is saying on alcohol intake when cask wine is so cheap and taxed so much less.
"I think everyone who is making distilled spirits in Australia has a really good attitude towards the drinking culture and I think it could really help that message rather than hinder it."
Backwoods Distilling Co is a member of the Australian Distillers Association and Spirits and Cocktails Australia and a delegation from the organisation travelled to Canberra present a submission for a reduction in spirits tax and a freeze of the automatic six-monthly consumer price indexes increases for three years.
The alliance has also campaigned for an increase in the excise refund limit, from $100,000 to $350,000.
That would be in order to grant craft distillers an equivalent level of support to small wine producers.
"The two of us running it is not sustainable, so we'll definitely be looking to employ people," Mrs Attwood said.
"We could employ two people in the town of Yackandandah and that's a huge impact on the community.
"Whatever we can save on tax we can spend on people.
"We'd love to have someone else run the distillery door for us and train people to distill themselves.
"There's so much potential, so we definitely want to give back to the community."
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