Plans for a new multi-million-dollar distillery and tourism destination comes as welcome news for a community devastated by bushfire and now dealt a second blow with the lack of international tourists due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Australian investment company Founders First, which acquired Kangaroo Island Spirits in March this year, has announced plans to create a “world-class distillery and must-see tourism destination”, set to open from Spring 2021.
Anticipated to play a role in the Island’s economic recovery, the $3 million project will create 20 jobs during construction and about 25 ongoing regional jobs once the facility is completed.
Kangaroo Island Spirits was founded by Jon and Sarah Lark, who will both continue with the business as chief distillers and brand ambassadors.
Founders First is an ASX-listed company that specialises in supporting and growing independent craft brewery and distillery businesses. The company has big plans for Kangaroo Island Spirits, which is already one of Australia’s most-awarded gin brands and was the first dedicated gin distillery in the country.
The first stage of construction will be the new “world-class distillery”, which includes a spirit tasting room and education space overlooking production facilities and allowing for masterclasses, group tastings, and events. The existing cellar door will also be upgraded.
The second stage of the masterplan will introduce a commercial kitchen and potentially accommodation to cater for the overnight market. A later stage will see construction of additional facilities to increase the production capacity and meet greater export demand of gin, vodka, and the soon-to-be-released single-malt whisky.
The company is looking to emerging markets in Japan and Singapore, as well as Europe, where KIS O’Gin recently won the Contemporary Style Gin Trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London.
Jon Lark says the new tasting room will allow for more educational and interactive experiences, where visitors can learn the art of gin making and creating cocktails from the KIS range.
“It will add to the brand offering we have built over the past 15 years and will improve our ability to make our beautiful products, it will also enable us to welcome more visitors to experience our island hospitality,” says Lark.
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