Mt. Uncle Distillery in Walkamin, Far North Queensland, has just released a ground-breaking range of Australian Agave Spirits under the ‘Agave Australis’ label. Comprising Silver, Rested and Aged spirits in the range, Agave Australis is distiller Mark Watkins’ local interpretation of Mexico’s much-loved national spirit.
The movement to produce local agave spirit has been gathering steam over the past few years. For Watkins that has meant turning his farm (which has been in his family for six generations) into an agave plantation. Well-known industry face Jeremy Spencer (currently with Curatif) is backing the brand and brings his enormous depth of passion and brand knowledge to the operation.
For Watkins, the love of agave began 12 years ago on a trip through Jalisco, the heartland of tequila production, and quickly turned into an opportunity, with Watkins identifying numerous similarities between the terroir of Jalisco and the Atherton Tablelands.
Watkins says: “Look, we do great sparkling wine here based on learning from Champagne, so I’m sitting in a cantina in Guadalajara some time back thinking, why the hell can’t we make agave spirit in Australia?!”
With its quiet release to the on-trade in early 2022, Agave Australis became one of the first distilleries in Australia to both grow and distil a 100% Blue Agave Spirit. Agave Australis uses traditional methods for farming, harvesting and processing the Blue Weber Agave plants that comprise the foundation of only the best tequilas.
“Our whole approach since opening BYRDI was to spotlight Australian-made spirits, and to now add the agave category to this broadens the horizon. I love seeing the surprise on people’s faces when you tell them it’s not tequila,” – Byrdi Owner, Luke Whearty
Agave Tequiliana plants are harvested after five years of growth in the volcanic red soils of the Atherton Tablelands. This region sits 800m above sea level and bears similarities to the Los Altos region of Jalisco. The ‘pinas’, or hearts of the agave, are roasted in an ironbark woodfire pit over volcanic stones, before being open fermented with wild yeast strains native to Walkamin. Distillation occurs in twin 1500L Holstein Copper Pot stills, yielding a vibrant and fresh spirit with herbal undertones and hints of lemongrass and citrus. There are three bottlings on offer – the Silver, Rested & Aged.
Agave Australis can already be found on the back bars of some of Australia’s leading bars and restaurants, with Icebergs Bar + Dining, Re., and Byrdi all pouring the innovative spirit.
Byrdi Owner Luke Whearty says, ‘From my perspective, it’s super exciting. Our whole approach since opening BYRDI was to spotlight Australian-made spirits, and to now add the agave category to this broadens the horizon. I love seeing the surprise on people’s faces when you tell them it’s not tequila.
For more information on this brand or to stock it in your bar, head to https://agaveaustralis.com/