If you like supporting small brands and uncovering little known gems then the Indie Spirits Tasting is tailor-made for you. Direct from the Margaret River in WA is the gin brand that is growing in popularity nationwide - West Winds Gin. Kiki Ward, Shipmate and brand ambassador, gave us some insight into the brand.
Two guys from New Zealand who didn’t know each other until one married the others sister and then they did. A year sitting in bars and lounges discussing how they always wanted to make their own gin. This is how two brothers-in-law and a part time musician got in to a lot of debt and created a Rogue Society Gin that won gold in London & San Francisco.
" It took us over a decade and two generations to simply establish our credibility and professionalism as independent distillers. With the emergence of many more craft operators the market has received a heap of attention which has brought more people away from the standard mainstream imported brands to try our products and those of our peers," says Ryan Passmore, from the Kimberley Rum Company.
"For us it's been a very organic process - having the bar in fitzroy, The Rum Diary Bar, we've always created our own house products such as ginger beer and a spiced rum. The popularity of the rum kept growing over the years, so we kept tweaking and improving it, as time went on people kept asking to buy it for home, so we increased production and started selling it to customers and then into other bars," says Hamish Goonetilleke the man behind Rum Diary Spiced Rum
This is not just your run-of-the-mill tradeshow. The Indie Spirits Tasting is unique in that it's solely for small, independent brands that are not stocked on every backbar or in every bottleshop. Come along and find something new to show off to your friends or maybe even add it to the menu in your bar. All of the exhibitors at the event will be sampling a handful of brands with many of the distilleries bringing along their master distillers to chat about their products.
"Consumers are wanting to find a unique spirit or drink now, they want to be taken on a journey from the initial brewing stage to the final stage of having the beverage in their hand, and that’s something we strive to achieve." Codie Palmer from Illegal Tender Rum Co talks about the rise of craft spirits in Australia.
Master Alchemist and Ironbark Distillery Director is Reg Papps who opened the distillery with his wife Greta just three years ago. Their vision is to produce high-end spirits with a distinctly Australian twist. Reg honed his craft over a career spanning 26 years in industrial distillation, but when he was made redundant from Shell, he took the opportunity to transfer the skills learned to a much smaller scale and Ironbark Distillery was born.
"It won’t be long until craft distilleries join the ranks of breweries/brew pubs - one will always be within a 30 minute commute!" Applewood's Brendan Carter is excited about the boom in craft distilleries, likening it to the boom in craft brewing in the noughties.
"You should be able to trust that what you are being led to believe is in the bottle is in the bottle, whether it be vodka, gin or whisky. And I felt that the customer deserved a truly crafted spirit." This is what inspired Desiree Whitaker to start Cardrona Distillery.