New boutique gin producer Storytellers Distillery is the culmination of a vision that has been bubbling away ever since the first coronavirus lockdown in March.
Storytellers is the creation of distiller and co-founder Lachlan Gunner in partnership with a small group of investors who came together during the lockdown to formulate a concept for a new boutique gin distillery.
As of today, the distillery’s first product, an Australian Dry Gin, is available for purchase online at $69 for a 500ml bottle.
The producer has also begun fitting out a distillery and cellar door at Brompton, set to open early next year.
Originally from Adelaide, where he studied science before delving into hospitality as bar manager of the Lion Hotel, Gunner moved to Sydney in 2017 to pursue a career in cocktail bartending. Last year, he placed in the top 20 of a world class cocktail-making competition.
When the country was shut down in March, he quickly decided to return to Adelaide.
“The day after bars closed in Sydney, we were in a car driving back to Adelaide. We had to quarantine for two weeks and I spent a lot of time thinking how I was going to move forward from this,” he says.
“But with so much time myself to think and read, I grew some inspiration.”
It was during this period of isolation that, through word of mouth, he made a connection with a separate group of friends who were similarly looking to establish a distillery.
“As soon as I came out of quarantine, I went over to their house and sat around their kitchen table and had a gin, and the next day, we said, ‘Let’s do something,’” says Gunner.
“They’re a group that are truly passionate about spirits and our paths just lined up. I feel quite lucky that it lined up in that respect.”
Without their own facility, they worked with an established local distiller to create Storytellers’ first product — the Australian Dry Gin. The gin employs ingredients such as muntries, strawberry gum and lemon rind with a total of ten traditional and native botanicals.
“We worked through a number of recipes, but until you really put them into practice, they’re all just theories. I think we have struck gold with this one.”
Gunner’s aim is to release small batch gins on a regular basis.
“It’s my goal to release these products like a cocktail list. Rather than seasonally – four products a year – I’m looking to up the scale of that quite dramatically,” he says.
“When I tell people that we’re starting with gin, one of the most common remarks is that there are already so many gin distilleries out there. People love gin at the moment and gin and tonic is one of the most widely consumed beverages in in the world. So, I think it’s only a good thing and it’s bringing new producers to market.”
Planned to open early in 2021, the Storytellers cellar door, on First Street in Brompton, will embrace the industrial nature of its surroundings. Based in a warehouse location, it will feature a large glass window pane facing the train line. A cocktail bar will provide a view into the distillery setup, while also giving visitors a view of the occasional train rolling past.
“First and foremost, it’s a production facility to make the gin but then as soon as the bar’s installed and we open the doors to the general public, we’re really excited to create new things with a lot of these frequently produced products,” says Gunner.
“It’s walking distance from Plant 4 and the Entertainment Centre, and there’s a couple of producers around us around in that area so it’s becoming a bit of a drinks hotspot.
“We’ve got a smaller experimental production still, which we’ll be using to release experimental batches. And then we’ve got a larger still which will facilitate the demand of our regular products.”
Gunner hopes to involve the distilling community and wider gin enthusiasts in the release of each new spirit. The distillery will offer personal tours by appointment, tastings, workshops and events.
Distillation is an extension of Gunner’s career making cocktails, as well as his background studying science at the University of Adelaide.
“I did two years of theoretical and experimental physics at Adelaide uni and what really cemented my change into hospitality was being able to apply scientific theory in cocktail-making. Distillation is just one of those scientific principles.
“That really helped me with my cocktail career and in turn has helped me with this. I’ve always promised myself that I’ll go back to Uni one day and finish off the degree.
“My passion has always been in not just drinks, but the experience people get around drinks as well.”
Storytellers Distillery will host a product launch of the Australian Dry Gin at Hains & Co on Tuesday, December 1, from 7pm.
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