Between the five Co-founders, we have more than 30 years in the brewing industry, and a further 40 years in distilling.

And, we've all owned and grown our own businesses.

Learn from our mistakes, and wins, to give your dream of owning a successful craft brewery the best chance.

Michael Capaldo

A passion for people, beer and learning has seen Michael work in the beer industry for over 17 years.

He cut his teeth working the cellars of Freemantle’s finest, Little Creatures and Gage Roads, while completing his Graduate Diploma in Brewing at Edith Cowan University.

Michael was the Head Brewer at Sydney Brewery for more than seven years, overseeing a growth that included multimillion dollar CAPEX projects to build a new brewery and new packaging facility in Lovedale, NSW.

Along the way, Michael dived deep into the world of beer judging - judging every domestic competition, as well as Japan, New Zealand, World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival.

He picked up a few major gongs for his beers along the way too.

Michael is currently National Sales Manager at Hops Products Australia (HPA), leading a remote sales team operating in Australia and New Zealand. He was also a board member of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (Asia Pacific), stepping down to focus on The Brewers Institute in late 2023.

Experienced in sales, sensory evaluation, management, leadership and technical brewing, Michael brings all of these traits together to help brewers brew great beer, and Aussie farmers sell great hops!

Ian Thorn

After just under two years as a microbiologist for Scottish & Newcastle (makers of Fosters in the UK), Ian took on the role of Head Brewer for Stroud Brewery, a microbrewery in the West Country, UK.

Since then, Ian moved back to Australia and into the distilling industry - holding many senior roles at Starward Distillery for around seven of the business’ initial years, and now he’s leading The Gospel Distillery as Master Distiller, in Melbourne.

Ian has a Diploma of Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD), along with the Diploma in Distilling and Master Distiller (also from the IBD).

Outside of his day job at The Gospel, he is also the Lead Distilling Tutor for the IBD’s Diploma in Distilling - Tutor guided Learning Program, an international online class.

Anne Gigney

Anne is the Director of the Tasmanian Whisky Academy, and has had a hand in training or supporting the skill development of close to 800 distillers in the Australian and New Zealand industries.

She is a former Board member of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (Asia Pacific), an advocate for the value of education in Australia’s distilling industry, and an advocate for effective workforce training and learning.

She is a recent recipient of the Winston Churchill Trust, to investigate workplace training models in distilling and brewing in Europe, and commenced this study in March 2024. Anne’s passion is helping others make a success of their dreams and doesn’t mind a cleverly crafted brew, a sneaky rye whisky or a delicious brandy.

Troy Trewin

Starting in 1999, Troy has started and grown more than 15 of his own businesses, in three countries.

His passion is helping craft beverage founders grasp the true economics and realities of growing a beverage business from nothing, or with limited capital, to something of meaning in the industry and of great value.

From early 2017, Troy has been the Chairperson of fast-growing craft brewery, Hobart Brewing Co. – the second largest craft brewer in Tasmania.

Since 2011, he has been managing and growing whisky businesses in Australia and New Zealand, as CEO of three separate and well-respected brands (The New Zealand Whisky Collection, Overeem Whisky and was the first CEO of Lark Distillery).

In recent years he has advised more than 10 other up-and-coming distilleries, or those already in a fast-growth phase.

He sits on the Advisory Boards of Old Young’s Distillery and Six-Tricks Distilling Co.

Troy has a weekly Grow a Small Business podcast, with more than 450 episodes, it’s in the top 50,000 (1.5%) of all 3.1m podcasts.

Listen to the five guests he’s had on his business podcast, in the craft brewing space.

Marcel Thompson

Marcel Thompson (Ngāti Whātua, Waikato, Ngāti Koata) is an international award-winning distiller, craft spirits industry advocate, educator, bestselling author and podcast host.

Known also as Mr Gin, Marcel has published two best selling books Still Magic and Gin Ventures.

As a Chemistry graduate from Auckland University Marcel Thompson had the choice of working with pharmaceuticals, explosives or gin. The decision was simple; choose the unusual career path that piques relentless curiosity.

Armed with a dust coat and a willingness to learn, Marcel started an apprenticeship with some of Australasia's finest in the industry, whose lineage may be traced back to the giants of the game in pre-war London.

International assignments with joint venture partnerships in New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea bring a rich experiences to the team.

The Distillers Institute

This isn’t our first rodeo.

Before launching The Brewers Institute, we first helped 600 people in Australia and New Zealand decide if starting a craft distilling business was for them.

In April 2020, we launched The Distillers Institute.

Since then, more than 600 people have started one of our courses.

It has been amazing, and an honour, to watch and hear the journey of around 10% of those people, who went on to open their own distillery (see some of their products).

The “Planning Your Successful Distilling Business” is similar to the The Brewers Institute course.

The Distillers Institute also has the “Launching Your Successful Distilling Business” course, which we will eventually release for the craft brewery industry.

This course is for those who decided, after the first course, distilling is for them.

It’s more comprehensive, and guides them through setting up a distilling business within 12 months.