CRAIG DANIELS – CHAIRPERSON
Craig is the Foundation Chair of the Society from 2002 and was re-elected unopposed in January 2018. Craig has led all four convention organising committees and has a special interest in event development and innovation in membership servicing. His working life mainly encompassed 28 years in public administration across various Federal labour market programs, industry and regional services portfolios. Craig has been involved in whisky connoisseurship since 1991 and is a successful competitor in the National Malt Tasting Competition. He has won the competition four times, most recently in Sydney in July 2014 and previously in 2013, 2008 and a long while ago in 1995 and has placed second in 2000, 2001 and 2010. Craig is internationally recognized for his knowledge and palate, contributing to various whisky websites. He is a proud member of the international internet malt collective, “The Malt Maniacs”, and a long standing member of the Earls of Zetland Malt Tasting Club (1991), the Streah Malt Tasters (1995), the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (2003) and the Macquarie Branch of the Gillies Club (2004). Craig was the panel chair of the Whisky and Rum judging team at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards in 2015 and 2016. Craig is currently pursuing whisky interests as an independent bottler of small batch Australian single malts via Whisky Australia Pty Ltd (brand owner of 3 Souls) and as principal of Clan Drummond, providing sensory evaluation services and writing tasting notes on a professional basis for brown spirits producers, primarily whisky and rum. He has also run malt whisky appreciation evenings and training courses for budding whisky judges. Craig has visited Scotland three times to pursue his personal passion and has photographic evidence of visits to over 80 distilleries. His other favoured whisky destination is Tasmania and he’s visited over 20 different malt whisky distillers there across five trips since 2003. He thinks Australian malt whisky has come a very long way since 2003 and he’s both humble and proud to have played a part in helping kick it along, through the four Conventions, leading development of the ‘Australian Malt Whisky Showcase’ and selecting two Australian distilleries (Overeem and Southern Coast) for our bespoke bottlings. If pressed, he will also acknowledge a growing appreciation of Indian and Japanese single malts and American rye whiskies. While he hasn’t found the perfect whisky yet, he’s come close with Aberlour 1964, Bowmore 1964, Highland Park 1967, Laphroaig 1976, Ardbeg 1977 and Glenmorangie 1972 and Longrow 1990, amongst others and he’s still hot on the trail.
KATE HASLAM – VICE CHAIRPERSON, MEMBERSHIP OFFICER
Having discovered single malts early in her university years, Kate joined the Laird’s Club and was often found enjoying a dram in the Earl of Zetland with her best friend Ali. However, the financial realities of student life meant that her new enthusiasm was left on the back-burner for too many years.
Long work hours in her early career were a further obstacle to dedicated whisky appreciation, but when she encouraged her new boyfriend to share her interest by cutting his teeth on Lagavulin, it was clear that the passion was going to be a shared journey.
Having conducted rigorous research at distillery doors in Scotland, Ireland, Tasmania, Japan and New Zealand, she (with her now-husband) had the opportunity to be involved in whisky judging for the MWSOA with the encouragement of Craig Daniels and enjoyed the challenge this presented her palate. Kate now enjoys sharing stories and whiskies with her comrades in the society, and is looking forward to helping spread the appreciation of fine whisky even further with her involvement on the committee for the first time.
Other enthusiasms include wine, food, planning the next trip to Scotland, and hockey (where there is always a hip flask of Talisker to apply liberally to the interior of any team-mate in case of injury).
BETTE BRADTKE – SECRETARY
Bette has been a lover of whisky for many years. It fascinates her that the combination of water, yeast, malt, wood and time could result in such exquisite magic. A highlight of her life was attending Whisky School at Springbank in 2013 where she was part of the team for a week. She turned the malt on the malt floor, wheeled barrow-loads of malt, collected peat and (very importantly) got to taste a lot of whisky.
Bette is a keen member of three other malt whisky groups. She says that she loves whisky tasting and is keen to continue to improve her palate by learning from other members. She loves to cook and as a vegetarian likes the challenge of matching whiskies with her style of food.
She is a keen sportswoman, having represented the state in cricket. Bette has also run many marathons and half marathons in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Two years ago she walked across England in the Coast to Coast Walk. Running the half marathon on Islay is still on her bucket list.
In the rest of her life, Bette has a range of interests. After 30 years with the public service she created her own HR company (Bradtke Consulting) in 2012. Having saved enough money to fund a trip or two to Scotland to taste you-know-what, she recently sold this company and is now looking forward to a semi-retirement. She is interested in politics, classical music, gardening, riding her bike and keeping fit.
Bette brings enthusiasm to our Committee and is especially interested to participate in the matched tastings options, given her love of food.
VIANO JAKSA – TREASURER,
Viano has worked as a professional film editor, as a teacher and lately as an IT consultant. His Italian heritage explains his passion for Alfa Romeo motor vehicles and for wine but there is no genetic explanation for his love of "uisge beatha," the water of life. Viano's belief that life is all about the journey and so, after having received a copy of "1001 Whiskies You Must Try Before You Die," he's undertaking this challenge with characteristic passion and enthusiasm.
PETER GOLOTTA – COMMITTEE MEMBER
“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work. Travel, experience the world and drink some fine whisky along the way….”
This is Peter’s mantra and what makes him the person he is. Peter strongly believes that travelling and experiencing the world will lead to happiness and an appreciation of everyone's differences. Getting out of our comfort zone and experiencing something new (including whisky), some place different and somewhere you have never been is what we're born to do.
Peter is very passionate about 3 things; construction, photography and whisky. He is currently a construction project manager from Adelaide that travels Australia for work from time to time, and also a member of the Australian Institute of Building. Peter’s respite from everyday life is:
- to pack his bags and travel to a new destination with his just-as-enthusiastic wife; and
- share fine whisky with friends and family whilst having a good chat.
Peter’s introduction to whisky started at a young age of 13. Raised within an ethnic family, a bottle of Grants Blended Scotch Whisky accompanied with the infamous triangle glass to match, was never too far from his father and grandfather during family gatherings as he sat, watched and listened to them chat. Very fond memories indeed.
Peter has since developed his passion for whisky by attending countless whisky tasting events and conferences across Australia, competed in the Australia Malt Whisky Tasting Championships 2016 (Sydney), networking and investing with many distilleries around Australia, and he is always willing to teach, learn and expand his knowledge with anyone who appreciates a dram.
Peter is an avid collector of rare whisky, and also enjoys dabbling in his own barrel aging and blending process. He shares his experiences with others and relishes mixing both photography and whisky by attending events or tastings and photographing at the same time. He has developed his own website, golottaphotography.com, which showcases places he has visited and his love for travelling the world. Peter intends to increase his portfolio of events to encourage others to enjoy life’s elixir and the responsible drinking of the fine whisky the world has to offer.
Although Peter believes every whisky has a place in one’s life, Peter’s whiskies of choice are The Balvenie 17yo Doublewood and The Balvenie 21yo Portwood.
GIUSEPPE RIITANO – COMMITTEE MEMBER
Giuseppe lived most of his early childhood in the south of Italy where he spent a lot of time helping in the family's restaurant. It was this period that helped him develop a keen appreciation and love for food, drink and living "la dolce vita".
In his early twenties Giuseppe was introduced by friends to the "water of life" and fell in love with the world of this contradictorily simple, yet complex, drink called Whisky.
Having an insatiable appetite for knowledge, Giuseppe began learning everything he could about the process and history of creating this wonderful spirit, culminating with him travelling to the motherland of Whisky, Scotland, in 2015. With his best mate (and Whisky companion) Justin he hired a car and set off from the Lowlands to the Highlands, throughout the Speyside, and finally ventured over the waters to the whimsical Islay, visiting as many distilleries as they could.
Today Giuseppe continues to expand his knowledge of Whisky, believing that you never stop learning. His other passions besides Whisky, food and sweet pastries are, technology, films and travel.