our staff

Cameron Syme
FOUNDER

Recognised as one of the founders of Australia’s craft gin and whiskey movements, former lawyer tuned Master Distiller Cameron Syme set up Great Southern Distilling Company in 2004. Prior to this he was researching, volunteering and honing his knowledge of the production of craft spirits, pursuing a long held dream of starting his own distillery. 


Since establishing the company, Cameron has led his distilleries and team to having won over 140 medals and trophies, and has been named Distillery Manager of the Year by Icons of World Whisky. Under his lead the company has also been awarded Western Australian Business of the Year at the Telstra Business Awards in 2017 and previously in 2015 Western Australian Regional Business of the Year. 


Garry Zacher
Chief executive officer

Garry has held executive roles across a wide range of industries, including gold mining, iron ore mining, fast moving consumer goods, construction and shipbuilding. He holds degrees in Economics, Finance and eCommerce, and previously had senior international regional supply chain roles at Fonterra. As CEO, Garry oversees a number of departments, in particular production, logistics and wholesale. 


Favourite part of the job? Working in an energetic, growing family-owned company with excellent brands and passionate people, with operations based in regional southern WA where I grew up.

MARGARET RIVER CELLAR DOOR

BEN TASSONE
MRDC Venue Manager

Ben has spent over 25 years in the hospitality industry, running bars and restaurants all around the world. He has been the Venue Manager at Margaret River Distilling Co since it opened its doors in 2016, and in 2021 won the prestigious global award Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year from the Icons of Gin.


Favourite part of the job? Making people happy!


DAMON MCMILLEN
MRDC assistant venue manager

Damon has worked in the hospitality industry for 20 years. He was the General Manager at the Margaret River Tavern for 8 years, before joining our team at the Margaret River Distilling Co.


Favourite part of the job? I love the wonderful products we make! I enjoy being able to spend time with the customers and educate them about our spirits and how to drink them.


DONNA GREEN
MRDC cellar door supervisor

Donna started at MRDC in 2016, and is an essential member of the cellar door team. With a wealth of hospitality experience, Donna splits her time between a wide variety of tasks. Donna is also the master chef behind our popular Barrel Aged Sriracha sauce.


Favourite part of the job? I enjoy the variation in my work, and the opportunity to be given new projects (such as the Sriracha).

ALBANY CELLAR DOOR

KYLIE HOOPER
ALBANY Venue Manager

Kylie has achieved a lot since joining the team in 2018 as Albany venue manager, including being part of the 2020 Gin Cruise which took home the top prize for Campaign Innovator of the Year at the Icons of Gin Awards. 


Favourite part of the job? There are so many opportunities before me, which is what I love about my job.


SHAY KIDDLE
ALBANY assistant venue manager

Shay started working at Limeburners as a casual in 2018, after graduating high school. She quickly rose through the ranks, and took on a full-time role as Assistant Venue Manager at our Limeburners cellar door in Albany. 


Favourite part of the job? The customers and my colleagues! I love talking to people and helping them find what they like, then at the end of the day enjoying a knock off drink and a laugh. 


JAYDE LAMPARD
ALBANY cellar door supervisor

Jayde started working for Great Southern Distilling Co in 2018 as a Christmas casual. Six months later she started in the full-time position as Cellar Door Supervisor, and jumped at the opportunity with no hesitation. She is also grateful to work for a company that understands her family commitments. 


Favourite part of the job? I have a real passion for customer service and love being in a workplace where I can deliver an exceptional experience to all customers every day.

DISTILLERS / BREWERS

BEN KAGI
HEAD DISTILLER

Ben started off studying Agribusiness as an undergrad, then post grad Hort. Science majoring and doing masters research in Wine Science and later specialising in Brewing and Distilling. Whilst working with the company Ben has been awarded Master Distiller/Master Blender of the year by Icons of World Whisky in 2018.


Favourite thing about the job? The creative side of Distilling and flavour research and development is unlimited and makes you very passionate, as all aspects of distilling are interesting! My only regret is that there are never enough hours in any one day!


MAX CASEY
DISTILLER / BREWER

Max began his career in civil engineering, before switching to working at a brewery and rapidly discovering his passion lies in distilling. He has now worked as a distiller for 6 years.


Favourite part of the job? My favourite part of the job so far would definitely have to be unlocking and opening up the barrel warehouse first thing in the morning! The smells of rich oak and aromas of whisky after being bottled up overnight is absolutely divine.


John wallis
DISTILLER / BREWER

John started his career in hospitality, and when he started working at the Albany cellar door he became very interested in the process behind making great whisky. This set him off on his journey to becoming a distiller. 


Favourite part of the job? I love the challenges and constantly learning about new innovations in the field, as it keeps the work exciting. 


Jackson Wray
Trainee Distiller / Brewer

Jackson started working for Great Southern Distilling Co in April 2018 in the Albany cellar door, then in January 2019 moved to the production side. From here he transitioned into distilling, which has allowed him to learn more about alcohol production.


Favourite part of the job? I have really improved my confidence over every aspect of my life, greatly due to the skills I have picked up working in the distillery. I also really enjoy working with such a friendly, jovial group of colleagues who have formed a tight-knit professional bond. 

PRODUCTION

ANDY DARRAGH
PRODUCTION LEAD

Andy is a qualified Butcher and Smallgoods maker. His most recent role prior to joining Margaret River production was a production manager within the food industry, and he brings to the team a wealth of industry experience and keen eye for detail.


What is your favourite part of the job? I enjoy the challenges each day brings. No two days are the same.


TRISTAN HUNTER
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT

Tristan has always worked in the hospitality industry, starting at the Intercontinental Hotel in Burswood. From there he transitioned to a Supervisor Concierge at the Crown Promenade when Crown took over the complex. He then moved to Hawaiian Property Group overseeing the Commercial Concierge Team, remaining there for 4 years until joining the production team in Margaret River.


What is your favourite part of the job? I enjoy the bottling process - It requires a lot of concentration to ensure quality control and makes me very proud when the finished product looks amazing.

finance / admin

joshua forster
management accountant

Joshua graduated from Murdoch University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Finance. He was then employed as a Company Accountant from 2015 through to 2019 for Bergmans Auto Group, where he gained extensive experience in all areas of financial and management accounting. In 2016 Josh commenced the Chartered Accountants program, and in 2019 was fortunate enough to have his graduation at New Zealand House in London, overlooking Trafalgar Square. Upon returning to Australia in late 2019, Josh started his current role as Management Accountant for the Great Southern Distilling Company, which has proven to be very challenging and fulfilling role.


Favourite part of the job? I get to work in a unique industry in the most beautiful part of Western Australia.



christine kittow
administration

Chris has over 20 years’ experience in administrative roles in various industries including legal, hospitality and manufacturing. Her knowledge of the business and efficiency in all areas mean that Chris is an integral part of keeping the ship running smoothly.


Favourite part of the job? It's a great job, and I especially like the team!

Marketing

laia carre
margaret river marketing coordinator

Laia is an Economist with a Masters Degree in Marketing Intelligence. She was working as a Marketing Coordinator for a multinational sports company in Barcelona, before she decided to travel around Australia. Now she calls Australia home.


Favourite part of the job? I love the variety of my job and the challenges that having multiple brands in one company means. Thinking as a whisky drinker, then as a gin lover and then as a whiskey fan, all in one day! I also love to do all of the marketing reporting, reviewing the data and working with spreadsheets.


RACHEL WEILER

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Rachel has over 17 years experience as a graphic designer, and prior to working with GSDC ran her own highly successful graphic design business for over 10 years. With a passion for creating aesthetically beautiful design she specialises in print, branding, and unique illustrations.


Favourite part of the job? Undeniably the staff here make my job great! I love coming in and seeing everyone's smiling faces and having a laugh with all the crew that make this place amazing. 




sales

paul burke
sales representative

Paul has a wealth of experience from over 22 years working across the liquor industry. Ranging from working in 'supplier land' to wholesaling has given him insight to every part of the sales process. 


Favourite part of the job? I am proud to sell high end craft spirits to the market and enjoy the Retail and Customer positive feedback.


daniel soraggi
sales representative

Daniel has worked in hospitality since he was 18, starting in bars and bottle shops before making the move to sales around 10 years ago. Daniel has worked for boutique companies, start ups and multinationals, so has a great understanding of every facet of the industry.


Favourite part of the job? I really enjoy the feeling of walking into a venue and seeing the results of your hard work reflected for all to see in the form of a nice display, or a great drink on a cocktail list. I also really like the creativity and authenticity that craft spirits are known for. 


ashlee dower
sales representative

Ashlee has spent the majority of her professional career managing licensed venues throughout Australia and across the globe in Canada and the USA. She has a passion for outstanding service and great local craft produce.


Favourite part of the job? I love being immersed in the WA hospitality scene, it’s really got an amazing energy and Australia is embracing their local products & suppliers more than ever since Covid-19. 


emma Krumins
sales representative

Emma has worked in many industries across her career including weddings, events, festivals, sales and liquor.


Favourite part of the job? My favourite part about working for MRDC/GSDC is the prestige/exclusivity of the brands and the fact they are locally produced.

riverglen chalets

annie Haeussler
riverglen manager

Originally hailing from Germany, Annie has travelled extensively and worked at a bank in Ireland before arriving in Australia six years ago. Since then she has been employed in a variety of different roles across the accommodation sector, before taking up the role of manager at Riverglen in early 2021. Annie is an avid mountain biker and surfer, and loves to make the most of the beautiful natural environment here in the South West of WA.


Favorite part of the job? I love the satisfaction of ticking off tasks, and ensuring that guests have a great time when they stay here!


beau cawse
Maintenance & grounds

Beau has had a varied career; In his younger days he was a landscape gardener and builders labourer, then spent the last 20 years in the tourism and hospitality industry, from running bars and cafes through to high-adrenaline operations like sky diving and white water rafting. He has also worked up and down the East coast of Australia managing a team of sales reps, with leading brands in the tourism and hospitality industry. Starting out at the Margaret River cellar door in functions / events, he then transitioned into his current role in 2018. Beau also keeps busy being a volunteer member of the Margaret River State Emergency Service, and playing with his acoustic duo around the lower South West.


Favourite part of the job? I really like the variety and problem-solving involved in this role, and my colleagues within the company.