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OUR JOURNEY

Two outsiders tackle the spirits world

Native New Zealand divider
Welcome swallow white

OUR JOURNEY

Two outsiders tackle the spirits world

Native New Zealand divider
Welcome swallow white

How do you build New Zealand’s most awarded distillery in just 2 years time? We never knew the rules so we didn’t know we were breaking them. Entirely self-taught in the art of distillation, Ben & Sarah Bonoma do not come from beverage backgrounds.

Ben, an American, and Sarah, a Brit, moved to New Zealand after falling in love over a long distance relationship. Many kilometers later, they found themselves in simply the most stunning place on the planet: Golden Bay, New Zealand.

After trading in America and the UK for New Zealand, it was time to trade in corporate careers and keyboards for a still and a plan: bring the most stunning place on the planet to the world by creating an attention grabbing range of spirits and break all of the rules in the process.

GOLDEN BAY, NEW ZEALAND

How we fell in love with one of the most beautiful places on the planet

Native New Zealand divider
Welcome swallow white

After landing in Wellington in 2012, Sarah and Ben set off to explore their new New Zealand landscapes and ended up camping in Golden Bay over the Christmas period. It was here where they fell in love with what is simply one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

When they found a still for sale in Golden Bay, Sarah and Ben jumped at the opportunity to quit their corporate jobs and start their new business venture in a location that deeply resonated them. They promised to never to take the region’s beauty for granted and make products of quality that mirrored the quality of Golden Bay’s surroundings.

MEET THE TEAM

The Dancing Sands team that makes the magic happen

Native New Zealand divider
Welcome swallow white
Erin Parry Marketing Manager

Erin Parry

Marketing Manager

Erin has led marketing and communications for brands across the food, beverage and beauty industries in New Zealand and her native Canada.  She joined the Dancing Sands team in early 2021 and now manages our marketing activity, raising the profile of the Dancing Sands brand both here in New Zealand and across our export markets. Erin is a keen mountain biker, and has never met a cat she didn’t like.

Niki Brown Assistant Distiller

Niki Brown

Assistant Distiller

After years traveling the world and working in famous cocktail joints from Australia to Scotland, Niki returned home to Golden Bay and joined our Distilling team in 2020. She is endlessly creative, her understanding of how to blend flavours has taught all of us a lot about how versatile Gin can be.  When she’s not distilling our Gin you’ll find Niki creating cocktails and playing with flavour combinations.  At home Niki has two young children, horses and a beautiful garden which keep her very busy!

Jamie Emerson Assistant Distiller

Jamie Emerson

Assistant Distiller

With a varied career in logistics and marketing Jamie joined our Distilling team in 2020.  Alongside distilling our Gin Jamie helps Dave manage production planning and day to day priorities – making sure we have enough Gin to fill all our orders!  Jamie is an avid cook and enjoys cooking delicious food at home for his partner.  You’ll also find him out walking his two beloved dogs around the Bay.

Dave Pedersen Distillery Manager

Dave Pedersen

Distillery Manager

After a diverse career that included training as a patisserie chef and working in procurement, Dave joined the Dancing Sands team in 2017. As our Distillery Manager Dave is the glue that holds our Distillery together.  He does literally everything from distilling Gin, production planning, and managing our Distillery team.  Outside of work you’ll find him on the beach with his dogs or spending time with his three adult children.

Peter Rawling Commercial Director

Peter Rawling

Commercial Director

After more than a decade in the wine industry Peter joined us in 2019.  He sits on the Management team alongside Sarah and Ben and overseas all things sales including our distributor relationships both in New Zealand and export markets.  After living overseas in Sapporo, London, Melbourne and Toronto, Peter is now back on his home turf in Dunedin. When he’s not at work Peter loves spending time with his wife and two girls and is an avid surfer.

Ben Bonoma Staff Photo In Front Of The Still And Wooden Barrels

Ben Bonoma

Founder / Head of Innovation

Ben is the creative force behind Dancing Sands, taking ideas and turning them into award-winning Gin. Ben creates all our Gin recipes – entirely from scratch. When Ben and Sarah bought a copper still off Trade Me Ben had no experience crafting anything, let alone spirits. Ben was once a tech consultant for big consulting firms but was also itching to get away from the 9-5 grind. Once Ben met Sarah he knew he’d found his ultimate team mate, and what they could accomplish together would be so much more than they could do alone. Ben doesn’t wind down so much as wind up: he’s an early 5am riser and likes to start his day with a mountain bike ride or trip to the gym.

Sarah Bonoma Managing Director

Sarah Bonoma

Founder / Managing Director

As Managing Director Sarah is responsible for basically everything. Sarah covers everything from business planning, overseeing operations, excise tax to creating our Instagram stories. At one time Sarah was studying to be a PhD scientist, but instead climbed the rungs of the corporate ladder where her path crossed with Ben. While Ben is the ideas guy, Sarah is the one who takes the ideas and turns them into a business.  At home Sarah is mum to her two young girls and a keen competitive runner.

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