Founder / Master Distiller
James has been a distiller for over 10 years. The way he started his professional distilling career is somewhat unconventional. Like most distillers, he started out distilling as a hobby in his parent’s garage in his early 20’s. In his mid-20’s, he moved to Taiwan to learn Mandarin and he really fell in love with the people, language and culture. He decided he wanted to live there, but he needed a job to survive. The cost of living in Taiwan is inexpensive, but he noticed that alcohol was just as expensive as in Australia, as almost all of it was imported.
It was around this time he was asked onto a Taiwanese dating TV show called “Prince Dating.” The hosts of the show asked him what he wanted to do in Taiwan, and he replied that he wanted to work in the alcohol industry. After the show aired he was drinking in a wine bar and was approached by a Taiwanese Businessman. The man had seen the show and owned a distillery in the mountains outside of Taipei, however he only made Chinese Spirits called Baijiu, as not very many people in Taiwan had knowledge of how to make Western Spirits. James said he had experience and knowledge and could help him out. He gave James a job and so started James’s professional distilling career.
He won his 1st Silver Medal for Vodka in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition after just 3 months of distilling professionally and his First Double Gold 2 years later. That Double Gold was the First Double Gold Medal awarded to a Taiwanese Gin in the History of that Nation. It was at this time he was exposed to Baijiu, learning the ingredients and the process of how to make it. He decided to return to his hometown of Brisbane to start his own Distillery.
Since opening mid-2018 he has won many awards, including being nominated for Best Distiller at the 2019 Tasting Australia Spirit Competition in Adelaide. He is also the 1st producer of Chinese Baijiu to win a gold medal in the History of Australia. East Coast Baijiu also won a Silver Medal at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC), which is Europe’s largest Spirit competition and the most respected Baijiu competition in the world. Our Baijiu was also the only one to win a medal outside of China.
James has a passion for making high-quality Australian-made Baijiu, as he loves the taste and is fascinated by Chinese drinking culture. When you drink East Coast Baijiu you are a part of James’s story and with the support of the Chinese-Australian community and all Australians, we hope to share our amazing Baijiu to China and all over the world.