The Australian Craft Spirits category has tripled in size since 2016. With this great growth comes great responsibly. And Paul Slater is just the man for the job. Hired by Southtrade to represent the top names in Australian craft, Paul promotes the category with education, brand awareness, and trade engagement. FDM caught up with Paul to pick his brain on all things drinks!
FDM: So, Paul, what’s your background in the industry?
Paul: I started bartending when I was studying an applied science undergrad, by the time I finished the degree I was enamoured with the hospitality industry so I dived in and wedded myself to it, along with a long term HECS debt. Working through several inner north Melbourne bars I grew a love for spirits and when the job of Bar Manager came up at Starward Distillery came up I was lucky enough to land it. The following 4.5 years shifted me through a number of roles, from chief bottle washer to junior distiller but primarily as Ambassador. When Southtrade gave me the opportunity to move across and grow the family there was little arm twisting required.
FDM: Why do you think it’s important to embrace Australian craft?
Paul: We’re at the forefront of an incredibly fast growing, highly innovative spirits movement. It’s happening right now and not only do we get to be a part of it but we have the ability to shape it. That’s wildly exciting right? Australian spirits have surpassed being a curiosity on the global stage and the world is embracing them, we’re playing with the big guys now and helping to write the history books.
FDM: What’s your favourite Aussie craft spirit and why?
Paul: Just one? Sheesh.. If it’s quality liquid with it’s own story and connection to the people and place it comes from then I’ll more than likely be into it.
FDM: What’s your prediction into what the next big trend in the spirits industry will be.
Paul: Can’t talk about that, we’re busy creating it ?
FDM: When you’re not talking shop about booze, what are you doing?
Paul: Probably baking banana bread with my daughter, or generally being bedazzled by the unbridled insights of a 3 year old.
FDM: What’s your go to cocktail and why?
Paul: My usual fall back is a Boulevardier; boozy and bitter, like many of my favourite people ? Symmetry and simplicity always wins.
FDM: You’re opening your own bar, what would the theme be?
Paul: Service first. Then drinks and atmosphere on par. Probably a small space with a tight, quality back bar, I’d love to hook a position in Golden Gai, Tokyo.
Looking for more on Australian craft spirits? Head to the FDM brand page for all your craft spirit needs!