Australia’s first all-female distilling company reports success


Australia’s first all-female distilling company, Clovendoe Distilling Co., reports success in the non-alcoholic beverages market with founder Catie Fry at the helm. 

Clovendoe Distilling Co. is Australia’s first mindful drinking beverage company, selling only low alcohol and non-alcohol spirits that are blended with over 20 Australian botanicals. 

Fry has overcome many challenges to make this launch happen. Not only do non-alcoholic beverages make up less than one per cent of the market, but the distilling industry is heavily male dominated. 

“In the early days, despite being a partner in Capricorn Distilling Co. and actively working, I was often considered only for the ‘more female’ appropriate tasks, rather than given an option to work alongside the men who were physically distilling,” Fry said. “So, I started making my non-alcoholics (Clovendoe Zero) in 2017 – however juggling motherhood and battling with self-confidence as a distiller, refrained from launching.” 

Fry is one of the few female distillers in Australia. She expresses how difficult the gender bias has been to overcome. 

“For me, it’s been a daunting and intimidating industry to be in, as a woman. I have worked extremely hard to deliver a profitable mindful drinking brand,” she said. “I believe I’ve had to work harder than my male colleagues to be taken seriously in the industry after often feeling a gender bias, in the way of condescending comments. 

“Funnily enough, it was through my experiences of gender bias that drove me to commercially launch Clovendoe; all the times I had been ignored and overlooked in the industry was what gave me the passion to launch my own company.” 

Clovendoe Distilling Co. is working towards offering female traineeships to help build the industry and make the profession of distilling as a female the norm. 

Since the launch of Clovendoe Distilling Co. in 2020, the non-alcoholic beverage market share has risen by 2.9 per cent in 2020, and IWSR is forecasting that the no- and low-alcohol volume in Australia will grow by 16 per cent by 2024. 

A recent study indicates that more Australians are giving up alcohol, stating that between 2016 and 2019 the proportion of people who were ex-drinkers increased from 7.6 per cent to 8.9 per cent – approximately 1.9 million people. The proportions of people drinking daily and weekly have been falling since 2004 and are now at the lowest point since 2001. 

Fry has also been surprised by the percentage of men purchasing Clovendoe. 

“Some of our most loyal and repeat customers are men, many of whom are not who I would have typically thought – I’m talking 30- and 50-year-old tradie types,” she said. 

Loyal fan, Keith Benson, said: “Since discovering Clovendoe Zero, I drink that throughout the week. I have cut my drinking down from six nights a week to one and have lost a tonne of weight.” 

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