our staff

Cameron Syme in the barrel room

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 in the Albany Cellar Door

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 at the 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 at the Margaret River Cellar Door

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 at the MRDC deck

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 at the 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.


Jayde Lampard with Frenchman Bay in the background

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 with a bottle of Limeburners whisky in his hands

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 with barrels in the background

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 wearing a Limeburner t-shirt

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 next to a still

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 with green bushes in the background

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.



MItchell kyle
PRODUCTION assistant

Mitch is a qualified remedial massage therapist with experience in owning and operating his own business. He has also been involved in the food manufacturing industry for more than 7 years and brings a lot of passion and knowledge to the workplace.


Favourite part of the job? Being a part of a family oriented company with the opportunity to learn and grow with the business.


finance / admin

Joshua Forster

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 with Frenchman Bay in the background

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

Diane Slade with trees in the background

DIANE SLADE

EXECUTIVE MANAGER

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS

Diane's career has spanned roles from Senior Executive within media organizations, Media Director for international advertising agencies and accidentally, Senior University Lecturer. She's worked globally with iconic brands including Singapore Airlines, Hennessy, Raffles Hotel Group, Singapore Tourism Board, Mercedes Benz and Asia Pacific Breweries among others and is a World Board Member of the International Advertising Association.


Favourite part of the job? I may be more at home than on a plane but given the choice of workplace settings who wouldn’t choose two of Australia’s most iconic and beautiful locations Albany and Margaret River?


Genevieve Page

genevieve page

albany

marketing coordinator

Genevieve is a new resident to Albany and has 13 years experience working in various Creative, Marketing and Customer Service Management roles. She graduated from Edith Cowan University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Business with a Major in Marketing and a Bachelor of Arts. Throughout the last decade she has lived and worked as a Marketing Assistant in London, studied at Central Saint Martins and been awarded grants to intern in Guangzhou, China. 


Favourite part of the job? I really enjoy the creative yet dynamic nature of the role, our team, and working at one of the most picturesque locations on Frenchman Bay in Albany.




Laia Carre

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.


sales

Paul Burke next to the Limeburners and Margaret River Distilling Co logo

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.


Ashlee Dower in a restaurant terrace

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. 


riverglen chalets

Annie Haeussler with trees in the background

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 with a tree on the background

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.