South Australia’s gin, rum and whisky distilleries have joined forces to create the Distillery Trail. Embark on this meandering journey to enjoy behind the scenes tours, cocktails, master classes and more.
Bass & Flinders is just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne and sticks to what they know, using only Mornington Peninsula grapes in their brandy. They also host a ‘blend your own gin’ experience, so make sure to book ahead!
Kangaroo Island Spirits
The boutique gin market may be seeing a lot of growth globally, but Kangaroo Island Spirits is the only distillery in Australia making its own unique blends using indigenous plants like boobialla berries and aniseed myrtle. Their gins are being served at fancy cocktail bars around the country, and they have also won a host of accolades including a gold medal in this year’s International Spirits Competition for their Whisky Barrel Aged Gin.
Owners Jon and Sarah Lark established Australia’s first dedicated gin distillery in 2002. They believed that gin shouldn’t be defined by a single flavour so they used many ingredients in their spirits, creating their own uniqueness and brand personality. Their philosophy remains intact today.
Mighty Craft purchased KIS in 2020, committing to develop the site into a world-class experimental distillery. They installed an 1800L steam driven gin still which will see KIS producing up to 3,000L of gin per week, as well as a 4,500L whisky still.
The team at KIS produce a wide range of gins, including the Wild Gin which showcases juniper, coriander and angelica root in a contemporary London style. Their Old Tom Gin is infused with the coastal daisy, Olearia axillaris, a native plant commonly found along the Southern coastline of Kangaroo Island. This subtle infusion provides a savoury, dry, beach-like character to the gin. They recommend enjoying it neat or in a classic cocktail with a slice of mandarin, kumquat or orange.
A visit to a distillery is the perfect opportunity to try out South Australia’s artisan spirits. These small-batch drinks are made with locally sourced ingredients, reflecting the region’s rich soils and flora. They’re also a great way to experience the local cuisine.
The team behind the Applewood Distillery takes inspiration from nature, heritage and culture to create its namesake gin. This Australian-style gin is infused with botanicals such as peppermint gum leaf, desert lime and native wattle seed. This approach is different from many other gins that use only the traditional juniper as their primary ingredient.
Located in the Adelaide Hills, this family-run cellar door is a testament to the diversity of South Australia’s terroir. This is evident in the wide variety of wines produced here. You can sample everything from a chardonnay to a robust shiraz.
The owners of this winery and distillery are dedicated to supporting farmers who choose more sustainable farming methods, crops and orchards. The resulting products are high-quality and truly unique. They are also inspired by indigenous cultures and work to understand their values.
This gin mecca is all about embracing local flavours, and you can taste your way around the range in their pared back distillery bar. Sample a range of gins on their own or in a cocktail, and try the cheeky limited edition collaboration between OATH Gin (distilled and produced by Asko Ryynanen at Nordic Premium Beverages) and Ambleside Distillers Small Acre Gin, which combines oats from OATH’s recipe with apple from Ambleside’s.
This laidback brewstillery in a former butcher’s shop on Willunga’s main street is a mecca for gin lovers, and serves up their signature 78deg gin infused with 12 botanicals along with other small batch spirits and liqueurs. Sample their world-beating gin, the acclaimed CCD Coffee Liqueur and the 2020 SIP Awards Gold-winning Sipping Coffee Liqueur, or take a behind the scenes tour and tasting session to learn more about their unique craft.
Founder Justin Turner is an American from Northern California who married into a Tasmanian family that has been farming for generations, so you can expect serious attention to detail in the multi-award winning Three Cuts gin range. At the Turner Stillhouse Masterclass, Justin will share his secrets of making this premium gin, which is perfect with Long Rays Tonic and a selection of fine Tasmanian cheeses.
Founded in 2019 by Adelaide hospo heavyweights Aidan Shaw (the manager at 2KW), Luke Fleming and Steven Roennfeldt, Threefold Distilling’s approachable tasting bar and distillery has made its way to Glenelg East. Located in an industrial space five minutes from the Esplanade, it feels like a not-too-distant cousin of a wine bar and features large communal tables that invariably get crowded with tasting flights and selections from the concise grazing menu.
Taking its name from the three bartenders behind it, the brand is all about creating spirits that are greater than the sum of their parts. To that end, they have recently released their debut 2021 vintage GSM – a combination of their multi-award winning Aromatic Gin with Adelaide Hills Shiraz and McLaren Vale Mourvedre – which pays homage to the colliding worlds of winemaking and distilling.
To make the gin, Threefold Distilling macerated the grapes in their aromatic gin to extract their vibrant colours and rich tannins before the fruit was fermented and matured in oak barrels. The finished product fuses aromatic gin with a complex blend of floral and herbal botanicals including grapefruit, rosemary and lavender – a nod to the brand’s three core ingredients.
To find the best route to Threefold Distilling, use Moovit’s smart transportation app. The app helps you plan your trip from any location with detailed schedules, prices and real-time transit information. It’s fast, easy and free.
Mr. Black Roasters & Distillers
Founded in 2013 by Philip Moore (one of Australia’s leading distillers and proprietor of Distillery Botanica) and designer/coffee enthusiast Tom Baker, Mr Black is made with Australian wheat neutral spirit and a blend of specialty coffee beans from the best growing regions. The result is a premium, bittersweet, and unapologetically coffee-forward liqueur that has half the sugar and ten times more coffee than traditional liqueurs.
Mr Black’s popularity continues to climb across the world, with their U.S. launch set to bring the brand’s classy and sumptuous coffee liqueur to top cocktails at bars like Roger Room and Melrose Umbrella Co in Los Angeles, Trick Dog and Tartine in San Francisco, and The
Australia’s craft spirits movement is growing rapidly. Local brands are finding international acclaim, and names like Four Pillars Gin have led the way for many others to follow suit. In fact, you can go on a tour of gin making at several distilleries around the country, including Byron Bay’s Cape Byron Distillery – a fifteen minute taxi ride from town and well worth it for the opportunity to experience the whirring and murmuring hum of their copper stills in action. For those that want to stay closer to the city, Starward Distillery in Melbourne’s Port is a modern distillery where industrial style meets glass walls and gleaming copper stills. They offer a range of experiences, from blending your own gin to learning about their process through an interactive museum.
Never Never Distilling Co
As well as being one of Australia’s best gin producers, Never Never also makes one of the country’s most awarded whiskies. If you are looking for a truly unique South Australian distillery experience, never miss the chance to book in for their ‘blend your own’ gin masterclass. In this experience you’ll explore both traditional and native botanicals while creating your very own 200ml bottle of gin to take home.
Like many good Aussie stories, this distillery’s story begins over a pint in a pub. That’s where Tim, George and Sean met – three mates with a love of flavour, a passion for craftmanship and a lofty ambition to create an outstanding Australian gin brand. They pooled their money, bought a 300L pot and column hybrid still they named Wendy, and set her up in the back of a brewery on the outskirts of Adelaide.
From there, things have been moving pretty quickly. Their Triple Juniper Gin and Southern Strength have been scooping up awards left right and centre, including Champion Australian Distiller at this year’s Australian Distilled Spirits Awards – the first distillery ever to do so.
You can visit the team at their cellar door and distillery located in McLaren Vale. The Never Never bar and distillery operate within the Chalk Hill Collective site meaning you can sip local wines, taste your way through their gins and dine on delicious Italian food – all while enjoying the stunning vista over the wine region.