While 2020 was a challenging time for many businesses due to COVID-19, for Canberra's Big River Distilling Co., the gin-producers went from strength to strength.
Its founder Clyde Morton said the growth of the distillery was in part due to locals wanting to support Canberra-based businesses during the worst of the pandemic.
"Despite a three-month lockdown, the business continued to grow," Mr Morton said.
"People were making a deliberate choice to buy products from within the region."
While the Canberra gin company have become fixtures in local bottle shops, new measures as part of the upcoming federal budget could see Big River Distilling be sold further afield in Australia or even abroad.
Tax refunds that will come into effect from July 1 this year will allow distillers across the country to get a refund on excises up to $350,000.
Currently, brewers and distillers are only allowed to claim 60 per cent of excises up to a limit of $100,000.
It's estimated there are 600 brewers and 400 distillers across the country, two-thirds of those in regional areas.
Those in the brewing and distilling industry, where roughly 15,000 people are employed, have been calling for an increase in the excise amount in order to put them on par with Australia's wine industry, which has had a large amount in place for several years.
Mr Morton said the new excise was a welcome move for the industry.
"The Australian spirits industry is still in its infancy, and it's tiny compared to the wine industry, but this will allow it to grow," he said.
"This will hopefully lead to export sales down the track for spirits and Australia imports most of its spirits, but that will hopefully change over time. Distilling in Australia is very innovative and there's lots of new products and styles that will help with that innovation."
The Canberra distillery's founder said the new rebates would be used to grow the businesses, which has been operating in Fyshwick since 2017.
He said the measures would make it easier to seek out more locations in other jurisdictions to sell gin or even distribution nationwide or overseas.
"It means I'll be able to make an immediate reinvestment back to the business and offer more hours to existing employees and have new employee positions," he said.
"I guess an expansion is also planned and to explore more opportunities in the export market as well as improve the distillery door experience."
While much of the price of spirits are made up of excise taxes, Mr Morton said the new rebate scheme could have the potential to lower the cost of a bottle of gin or vodka.
"Lower costs could possibly flow on down through to customers, but that remains to be seen yet," he said.
"For a company like mine, the rebates are probably going to be used to reinvest in the business, but time will tell."
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