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The Brains Behind Canberra Distillery (& Durian Vodka) : Economist, Tim Reardon

If you've tried our bestselling earl grey gin, that's not all. Tim, the founder of Canberra Distillery, in (of course, Canberra) took 47 tries to perfect his dry gin. Here's a story of their beginnings and how we found them.

One fine afternoon in 2018, Su and I (co-founders of Craft Gins Co), were searching for a fun, different, unique and delicious gins to bring into Singapore, when we stumbled upon 'durian vodka'. 'WOW, is that even safe to drink'? We were intrigued. True enough, it does taste like its name, slightly creamy on the tongue, with hints of durian and a smooth burn down our throats. Anyway, let's get back to Tim first.

Tim first bought a still, and spent 3 years trying to play around with all types of liquors, but find himself gravitating towards. After plenty of failed experiments and a lot of fun, his 47th gin experiment was a success. His backyard was filled with a sweet aroma, and the gin, a delicate, almost floral nose. "The neighbours were quite impressed," he says. It was then that Tim decided he would launch his own distillery. Six months of paperwork later, the Canberra Distillery was born.

Tim stays true to his passion of creating a great spirit from scratch. He mentions that many modern distilleries purchase ethanol from industrial facilities and re-distill it to add a flavour. But as a small batch distillery, "we are unconstrained by the need to produce volume and can focus on quality." The Canberra Distillery starts with just the raw ingredients: water, yeast and energy (grain, potato, fruit or sugar). The processing, distilling and bottling is performed by hand in Canberra.

To make spirits you have to first master the science of making alcohol and only then can you begin to practice the art of distilling. 

"First with the head and then with the heart."

The first alcohol from the still is the heads.  It is undrinkable. The higher boiling temperature alcohols are called the tails. These have a bitter taste. But hidden in the middle of these lesser alcohols are the "Hearts".  The Hearts are the sweet alcohols. To make fine spirits, the Canberra Distillery only uses the “Heart”  cut of the distillate.

After the success of his first gin, Tim went on to produce a variety of gins and spirits. Summer gin - "This is a modern Australian style. It has over 30 different botanicals, including a whole range of native botanicals. It’s what I think are all the Canberra summer fruits: strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, passionfruit, hibiscus, native strawberry gum, wattle seeds, mountain pepper berry, so many complex flavours."

Needless to say, Su and I were drawn to his passion for creating spirits. We wanted people to know that there was more to gins than (Hendricks, Bombay, and eeek... Gordon's). This was a gin that's produced with so much passion, attention to detail, failed experiments, and full of all natural flavours. So we took a leap of faith and imported our first batch of Canberra Distillery products in 2018.

*source: HerCanberra

Little did we know, the Earl Grey Lavender gin was a hit! It was complex, floral, bursting with flavours, and such a fun drink to make and sip.

Tim visited us sometime late October, and we hosted a masterclass at Joji bar for Tim to tell his stories with our newfound gin lovers/customers/friends.

We can't wait to see what 2020 has in store for Tim and us at Craft Gins Co! Thank you for sticking around with us and supporting us along the way. It means the world to us :)


Su and Leah

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