Four mates from Melbourne launch Marionette Liqueurs

Marionette Liqueurs
Marionette Liqueurs

Indie Tasting Brisbane is back for its third year at Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall on Sunday, 27 May from 1pm to 4pm. The event will feature over 30 exhibitors showcasing more than 100 craft spirits, with master distillers on hand and free seminars going deep into the world of independent spirits. Tickets are just $55 (plus booking fee) and includes all samples and snacks but if you book now you will receive the EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT and pay just $35 (plus booking fee). CLICK HERE TO BOOK TICKETS.

If you like supporting small brands and uncovering little known gems then the Indie Spirits Tasting is tailor-made for you. With the rise of craft spirits in this country gathering momentum, we are basking in a new world of Aussie-made brands. You’ve no doubt heard of Maidenii vermouth. Shaun Byrne launched this brand back in 2012 and now, with Nick Tesar, Lauren Bonkowski, and Hugh Leech, he has just launched Marionette Liqueurs. We took a moment to talk to Head of Production, Nick Tesar about Marionette which will be available for sampling at the upcoming Indie Spirits Tasting Brisbane.

Give me a little bit of background on your brand/ brands s and what prompted you to start them.
Marionette was born from the collective of Shaun, Lauren, Hugh and myself looking for our next step. We had all been working in capacities with Shaun at Maidenii and in liqueurs we could see a gap in the market, allowing us to produce products believe in, and being able to source the produce directly from individual farmers.

If a young bartender came to you and said they wanted to start their own spirit brand, what would you say to them?
Work on something that you are truly passionate about. Something that you won’t mind retelling the story of day in day out. Work with people who compliment your skill set. Don’t expect anything to happen overnight.

What products do you have in your portfolio?
Marionette Dry Cassis & Marionette Orange Curacao


Tell us a little bit about your distillery and your distilling process.
We are currently distilling out of Craft and Co, in Collingwood, Melbourne. With both products it’s very much a blending process. We work to get the very best out of the flavours, using different production methods (maceration and distillation). The Cassis is about layering the flavour of the blackcurrant. While the Curacao is blending 3 forms of navel orange with blood orange and Saville orange to create the final product.

Tell us some of the highlights of a day in your life making booze/ running a brand.
The dealings with the farmers themselves. Their family connections with their properties and practices have such history and evoke great pride in the fruit harvested.

And the worst parts…
Finding time for it all.

The spirits industry has changed a lot in the last 5 years, making way for events like the Indie Spirits Tasting. Why do you think this is?
Firstly the opening up of Australian distillation laws has seen more people jumping out and starting production on their own. With this the end consumer has become a lot more educated and inquisitive. People are enjoying trying something new and exciting.

Where do you see the craft spirits industry heading in the next five years?
Hopefully there is an evolution of government support for craft distillation in Australia. Allowing a greater competitiveness with international products. Sustainability will also continue to be looked into. With emphasis on closed loop processes, minimising power and water wasting practices. But also sustainability in farming and people (burnout).

What do you think will be the hot new trend in the drinks world in 2018?
A focus on provenance. Sourcing more locally. Working with producers to tailor ingredients to maximise the final product.

Who will be on hand to discuss the brands at the event?
Shaun Byrne and me.

Marionette Dry Cassis Liqueur 18.6% abv
A wonderful new cassis made from Tasmanian blackcurrants. Apart from the fabulously true-to-style flavours, the intense colour will also contribute to cocktails. Keep chilled once opened. Glass-staining opaque black cherry red with deep crimson edges and cordial consistency. Dense aromas, packed with fresh blackcurrants and hints of cranberry. Follows through in a viscous, semi-sweet entry with the early lusciousness nicely countered by encroaching acidity. Finishes pure, dry, cleansing and poised with trace alcohol warmth. Ribena for grown ups. Delicious. 18.6% Alc./Vol.

Make sure you head to Lefty’s on Sunday 27 May. Click here to get your tickets now.

This year the event has expanded over two days. In addition we have added the Whiskey Roadshow event on Saturday, 26 May from 1pm – 4pm. Click here to get your tickets to the Whiskey Roadshow and make it a Spirited Weekend.

To keep updated with all the distilleries, spirits, and seminars at the Indie Spirits Tasting events happening around the country, make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, and keep an eye on