A Bega Valley micro-gin distillery has picked up an additional two international awards despite being impacted by a horror season of bushfires.
In a rollercoaster year, North of Eden’s small-batch gins, The Classic and The Connoisseur, have won a medal each from this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
The Classic claimed silver and The Connoisseur took a bronze medal.
The small, regional distillery has only been operating commercially only since March 2019, but has already collected Silver and Bronze from the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2019 and Silver and Bronze from the 2019 Australian Gin Awards.
The San Francisco World Spirits Competition’s winners were selected from a pool of over 3,000 entries from around the globe.
Gavin Hughes and Karen Touchie make only 200 bottles at a time on Jill, their much loved 100-litre copper still. They say that they’re proving that size isn’t everything in the world of craft distilling.
“A 100-litre still might sound big, but in the world of commercial gin production it’s actually really small and it’s one of the things that sets us apart from other distilleries,” explains Hughes.
“It’s also why these latest medals are so fantastic because they demonstrate we can produce consistently great gin using small-batch artisan methods.”
North of Eden operates from 12 acres just outside Bega in a distillery that used to be a farm shed. There are three alembic copper stills and the company infuses their gin with homegrown citrus and Australian native finger limes.
Like many in small business on the far south coast, Hughes and Touchie have been doing it tough this year. They are unable to open their cellar door and their highly anticipated Gin School, which had been enjoying a big response, was open for only two weeks after the bushfires before it was forced to close due to COVID-19.
“This was supposed to be our big launch year,” explains Touchie. “All our gin school classes were sold out, but between the bushfires and now the pandemic we’ve had to refund months of bookings and we have no idea about when we might be able to re-open.”
But despite the setbacks, the couple is rolling with the punches and is planning to release a brand-new gin, The Admiral, in the next few weeks.
At 114 per cent proof, The Admiral will be North of Eden’s “Navy Strength” gin and, according to Hughes, the couple’s best gin yet.
“We’re hoping for Gold for this one,” says Hughes, laughing.
North of Eden gin is available from independent bottle shops along the south coast and Farrahs Liquor Collective in Canberra.