HELPING BUSHFIRE AFFECTED DISTILLERIES IN NEED

The Australian Bushfire Crisis has devastated communities across the nation, displacing families, destroying homes, and seriously damaging people’s livelihoods. Among those affected are Australian craft distillers, who, along with their families, have lost the ability to be self-sustainable throughout the crisis. In a bid to make a positive impact, Nip of Courage and Spirits & Cocktails Australia have come together in a collaborative project that aims to:

  • Support Australian craft distillers in bushfire affected regions, as well as their employees
     

  • Assist communities in rebuilding by supporting their local economies
     

  • Raise much needed funds that will aid numerous organisations contributing to fire relief.

The Bushfire Relief Project consisted of two main stages. Firstly, a grant provided by Spirits and Cocktails Australia was used to purchase stock from bushfire affected distilleries at full retail value. By doing this, the project helped these distilleries stay afloat during the time that many of them had to be evacuated and/or close their cellar doors.

 

As the communities begin to rebuild The Community Spirit moved to the second stage of the project - encouraging visitors back into these regions. The Community Spirit road trip covered 10 bushfire affected distilleries over the course of a week. Hosted by Abby Roennfeldt, 10 videos were produced through the road trip, highlighting the distillery experience at each location.

JOADJA DISTILLERY

JOADJA, NSW

Joadja Distillery is located in the historic town of Joadja in the Southern Highlands of NSW. It is one of only a handful of Single Malt Whisky distilleries in the world who grow their own barley and have their own spring on-site.

The entirety of the Joadja community had to be evacuated due to a number of out-of-control blazes surrounding the region. In addition to this, distillers Valero and Elisa Jamenez have been experiencing financial burden since the very beginning of the fire season. Due to the remote location of the distillery, it may only be open to the public when no fire bans are in place.

 

The distillery and cellar door are now open for business on Saturdays and Sundays condition-permitting. Historic site tours are beginning to resume once a month and details for this exclusive experience can be found on Joadja Distillery's website.

You can express your support by purchasing a bottle (or two) via the link below, and keep up to date through Joadja Distillery's social media handles.

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WILDBRUMBY DISTILLERY

CRACKENBACK, NSW

Located in the picturesque Snowy Mountains, Wildbrumby Distillery sell a wide of range of award-winning liqueur schnapps, gin and vodka through their beautiful distillery door.

As well as distilling world-class spirits, founders Brad and Monika Spaldings’ mission is to create a haven for the arts to flourish, and a place for visitors to relax and be inspired.

Due to wide-spread fires in the region, Brad and Monika were forced to close their doors for the first time in 16 years. The team at Wildbrumby are facing their toughest Summer yet and are eager for visitors to 'Shake Hands with the Snowies' as the roads reopen. The distillery door and cafe is open daily, and recent rain has helped the surrounding gardens to bounce back to life.

 

Brad and Monica's range of unique schnapps and spirits can be purchased via their website. The team at Wildbrumby have also been busy organising a number of special events to help bring tourism back to the region. Details for these events, along with distillery updates, can be found through Wildbrumby's social media channels.

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STONY CREEK FARM DISTILLERY

EDEN, NSW

Stony Creek Farm Distillery is located in what used to be a farm shed. Founders and distillers Gavin Hughes and Karen Touchie converted it into a distillery over a period of 12 months, putting in power and water and finally installing three beautiful alembic copper stills in October 2018. They did all the work themselves and couldn’t be prouder of the result.

Unfortunately, due to the catastrophic fires on the NSW South Coast, Gavin and Karen were forced to close their distillery before it's opening weekend to the public. Their 'Gin School' program was set to be hit among visitors to the region, however refunds had to be issued for the entire month of January as the fire risk was far too high.

Gavin and Karen are relaunching 'Gin School' in March and spots are limited. You can secure your seat (and still) through their website. Additionally, those wishing to show their support can purchase a couple of bottles from the 'North of Eden' gin range online. The distilling duo are currently working around the clock to keep the gin flowing and their business going. You can keep up-to-date with 'Gin School' updates through the distilleries various social media channels.

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KANGAROO ISLAND SPIRITS

KANGAROO ISLAND, SA

Kangaroo Island Spirits was founded in 2002, when Jon and Sarah Lark set out to establish Australia's first dedicated gin distillery and create their product "the traditional way". The Lark's chose Kangaroo Island as their home because they recognised an emerging food and wine industry on the island, as well as a flourishing tourism base.

Like the many other producers on Kangaroo Island, Jon and Sarah have a distinct passion for their craft. Unfortunately, bushfire has ravaged much of the island, and limited the ability of producers to continue to create genuine artisan products for their customers. The water supply was contaminated for some time and distilling at Kangaroo Island Spirits was halted.

 

Now as the island begins to rebuild, the Lark's are back in action. The cafe and cellar door are able to operate daily once again. Unique distillery experiences are up and running and can be booked through the website.

The full gin range, as well as a selection of vodkas and liqueurs, can be purchased through Kangaroo Island Spirits website. For every bottle sold, Kangaroo Island Spirits will be donating $10 to the KI Bushfire Appeal.

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REED & CO. DISTILLERY

BRIGHT, VIC

Reed & Co. Distillery is a family owned and operated distillery in the alpine town of Bright, North Eastern Victoria, offering a neighbourhood bar vibe. They are the makers of Remedy Gin which was born out of curiosity and
determination to create a truly local taste, and the experimental Spirit Lab range.

 

Independent distillers Hamish Nugent and Rachel Reed were forced to leave their beloved gin distillery and restaurant along with their two young children, Charlotte and Felix, as a result of multiple fires in the region. They have lost their only source of income during what is known as peak tourism season in Bright.

Hamish hopes that people will return to the region as authorities have deemed it safe to do so, however significant loss has already been felt by the community. He fears that people maybe afraid to return for at least a couple of months, compounding the financial losses of local business. However, the Reed and Co. team believe the region still has a lot to offer, and are excited to welcome visitors once again.

 

The team at Reed & Co. have returned to distilling, slinging cocktails and cooking up delicious meals for guests at the distillery. Opening times vary seasonally, and current hours can be viewed via their website.

 

You can also show your support by buying from Reed & Co. Distillery's online store. These sales are imperative in keeping Reed & Co. Distillery in business, and can allow Rachel and Hamish to support their staff and their families.

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KARU DISTILLERY

GROSE VALE, NSW

Karu Distillery, owned and run by husband and wife duo Ally and Nick, is located in pristine, untouched bushland just outside of Sydney NSW. The region, once serene, has felt the brutal effects of bushfires over the past month.

Like many businesses in the region, Karu Distillery has suffered as a result of almost zero tourist traffic. Their distillery still stands, however, their business has been severely impacted.

Now the risk of fire has been drastically diminished thanks to some much needed rain. Ally and Nick have been busy preparing their distillery for visitors, and this scenic cellar door is not one to be missed! Bookings are essential on most weekends, and you can get in touch with the distilling duo through their website.

 

Ally and Nick hope that their online retail sales will help them get them through the remainder of the bushfire season. Their gin range and 'G+Tea' packs can be purchased through the website.

Karu also hope to help their community, and will be donating a portion of their sales to a number of bushfire relief funds.

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CRAFT WORKS DISTILLERY

CAPERTEE, NSW

Craft Works Distillery, located in country NSW, has felt the effects of what is being pinned as Australia's worst bushfire season on record.

Bushfires impacted both the region itself as well as major arterial roads nearby. Craft Works Distillery operates out of The Royal Hotel in Capertee, who's business predominately relies those traveling in and out of Mudgee. With what seemed like endless road closures and warnings to avoid the area, Craft Works Distillery truly felt the financial burden of a nation-wide crisis.

The roads have since reopened, and Crafty is ready to showcase his impressive range of whiskies and spirits to those passing through the small town of Capertee. The distillery and cellar door operates on most weekends, and opening hours can be viewed via Craft Works' social media handles.

Head distiller Crafty has continued producing, and online sales have been vitally important in keeping his business and craft alive. You can show your support by buying a bottle (or two) from the online store.

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BILLSON'S BEECHWORTH

BEECHWORTH, VIC

In 2017, Nathan and Felicity Cowan purchased the site known as 'Murray Brewery' in a bid to return it to it's former glory as Billson's Brewery. Now, the site offers much more than beer, with a range of sodas, cordials and spirits on offer as well.

Located in the High Country of Victoria, Nathan and Felicity have had to make difficult decisions regarding there new, blooming business amidst the national bushfire crisis. The brewery, speakeasy bar and eatery all faced closures as the region was engulfed in heavy smoke and imminent fire danger. Furthermore, Billson's have had and will continue to have a major decline in visitation in what is the busiest season of the year.

The local region has been able to reopen as the risk of fire has thankfully subsided. There is so much to do at Billson's and the team are ecstatic to be able to operate seven days a week once again. Opening times can be viewed via their website.

Through their social media channel's, the Billson's team have encouraged those wanting to show their support to buy their products from a list of retailers, or from their online store.

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COROWA DISTILLING CO.

COROWA, NSW

Corowa Distilling Co., owned by Dean Druce, is an Australian Whisky Distillery on the banks of the Murray River that is passionate about creating quality whisky with quality local ingredients.

 

Corowa Distilling Co. have generously donated their beautiful venue for those who have has wedding plans interrupted by bushfires in the local area. Fortunately, the property on which Corowa Distilling Co. stands was not directly impacted by fire, so Dean was more than happy to help out those less fortunate.

Like many distilleries in regional centres during this fire season, Corowa Distilling Co. has been impacted by a loss of tourism. Thick smoke choked the community for some time, and business was consequently impacted. The team at Corowa Distilling Co. are hoping that business will pick up once again as they have been able to return to trading seven days a week. Tours are also running daily, and can be booked through the website.

 

Those wanting to show their support can purchase a bottle or two from their online store.

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HURDLE CREEK STILL

BOBINAWARRAH, VIC

Hurdle Creek Still is a family owned & operated small batch distillery making gin with botanicals that they grow or forage locally when they can.

Many businesses like Hurdle Creek Still in the King Valley region have been impacted by a loss of tourism and forced closures. The region was blanketed in a thick smoke that turned visitors away for quite some time.

The distillery has been able to return to 'business as usual' and the team is looking forward to welcoming visitors (and empty eskies!). The cellar door is open every day (except Wednesdays), and tastings are run throughout the day. Opening hours vary day-to-day, and these can be viewed on Hurdle Creek Still's website.

 

Those wanting to show their support can purchase a bottle or two from their online store.

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