Widely renowned as home to some of Australia’s top micro-breweries, Victoria’s thirst for local, hand-crafted drinks is nowhere near ending. Over the past few years a number of distilleries offering everything from gin using native botanicals to small-batch whiskey have emerged and have been readily embraced by the bartending community and the public. Even more unique to the story is the fact that many of these are located within an hours’ drive of Melbourne’s city center–turning the notion that great spirits need be created at the far ends of the Earth or near a snow capped peak on its head.
Hihou Bar | Photo credit: Hidden Secrets Walking Tour
Four Pillars Gin This small, distillery located in the Yarra Valley which launched late last year but has already received global accolades, Four Pillars Gin produce their well-received gin in small batches of just 420 bottles. Stocked in some of Melbourne’s top bars, the gin is renowned for using native Australian botanicals alongside international counterparts. Each bottle is individually numbered and hand labelled. The distillery will hold regular open days starting from mid-June. Learn more about Four Pillars Gin here. Melbourne Gin Company This locally produced gin launched mid-last year using botanicals that come from the garden at Gembrook Hill Vineyard also located in the Yarra Valley. The Gin is made using Gembrook rainwater creating a very unique and localized flavor and is available for purchase online. New World Whiskey Distillery Located in an old airport hangar in Essendon in Melbourne’s Western suburbs, this distillery’s Starward Whiskey is developed using Australian barley and barrels but integrating maturation techniques from around the world, that along with the Victorian climate creates a distinctly Melbourne flavor. The New World Whiskey Distillery also conducts a range of Whiskey MasterClasses, dinners and open days at their workshop each month. Bass & Flinders Distillery Founded in 2009, this distillery is located on the Mornington Peninsula, just over an hours’ drive from Melbourne’s city centre. They produce a number of spirits ranging from Limóncello to grappa but are widely known for their gin. The gin is produced using alcohol from grapes instead of grains and the distillery conducts regular Gin Experience events where visitors can make their own gins using a wide range of botanicals. Other boutique distilleries in regional Victoria include Timboon, Bakery Hill and Triptych Distillery. Article courtesy of Visit Melbourne– Official site for Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.