March 4, 2021 6:11 am

Shane Ridley

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How did you end up becoming a Distiller?

I stepped in to Bass & Flinders to work with my father in 2016, but prior to that I would help him out here and there with some bottling, labeling or lemon zesting and could see how much passion he had for the business.

My background is in marketing and busines, I didn’t come from a science background, but was lucky enough to be able to learn everything I know from him and was given a lot of scope to create, dream big and further explore my own passion for gin and in particular brandy.

Why does distilling fill your cup?

I love the idea of taking something traditional and putting a new spin on it, whether it be using new and unique botanicals in our gins or different grape varieties and techniques for our brandies.

With brandy, I love that every vintage has its own story and that is told through the winemaker, the barrel maker and the distiller together. Gin – on the other hand, is where I’m really able to explore and create in small batches and I find the Aussie market so exciting.

How are women impacting the distilling industry in Australia?

I think women in distilling locally, and even around the world are having an impact on a daily basis as our olfactory senses and our perceptions of aromas differ to mens so our interpretations of flavours and aromas can be quite different. They say women’s olfactory senses are stronger than mens and that this could be a real advantage for us women in the industry whether we are judging, producing, selling or creating.

Describe yourself in four words.

Creative, resilient, curious, ambitious

If you were a cocktail what would you be?

Aussie Negroni. Classic with a twist.

 What’s your favourite Bass & Flinders Gin & what is the best way to enjoy it?

Maritime Gin. This gin was one of my biggest challenges but has since become one of my favourites in a Mediterranean G&T. For me it encapsulates our home on the Mornington Peninsula. It has flavours of the ocean, bush and vineyard and is very local in its flavour profile as an Australian Dry Gin.

What would you say to women wanting to pursue a career in the Australian spirits industry?

The industry is still male dominated, but there’s nothing in distillation or production that can’t be done by a woman. There’s a lot of support out there now too, I recommend reaching out to the various female distilling networks, and to follow your dreams!

Who has had the biggest impact on your career?

My father. He was my mentor and gave me the strength and encouragement I needed to take over running our family business. He had such a passion for the industry and a dedication to creating quality spirits and this is my daily inspiration.

Favourite botanical to work with and why?

Native lemongrass. It’s such a fantastic and extremely fragrant aromatic grass native to Australia, and not that commonly used in gin. I love the sweet citrus notes and the sweet flavours of lemon and musk.

The global theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is ‘women in leadership’. What attributes do you feel make a good female leader.

Someone who is inspiring, understanding, fair and kind yet also a driver for people to do and be the best they can be.

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