Homegrown gin hits international shelves in a big way
AN ELEGANT new Qantas lounge has opened at Heathrow airport, and amongst the bottles on display in the signature gin bar you will find a little bit of home.
Brookie's Byron Bay Dry Gin was one of the top-shelf Australian artisan gins showcased at the bar. It was the first step into the international market for the company behind the gin, Cape Byron Distillery, and it's a pretty impressive first step.
Co-founder and distiller Eddie Brook said they were "pretty stoked" to be stocked at the flagship lounge, and said it was recognition of the calibre and quality of their product.
He said the Qantas lounge offered the first opportunity to buy Brookie's gin across the bar outside of Australia, and was "the perfect foot through the door" to the international market.
"You usually go into the international market knocking on the doors of small bars and cellars, so the Qantas lounge exposure makes our jobs a lot easier."
It is not the first product from the Brook family to find itself on the menu at Qantas - Brookfarm muesli has been available to Qantas business and first class customers for a few years.
Mr Brook said the partnership with Qantas was a good fit, with Brookfarm's sustainability and environmental credentials playing a big part in the airline choosing to stock their products.
The gin, made by the Brook family and Jim McEwan, has had a busy first year of production. As well picking up industry awards, and making the Australian Financial Review's list of the Top 20 beer, wine and drinks to look out for, the gin can be found in high profile establishments across the country - it can be ordered at The Black Pearl and the Vue de monde in Melbourne, the Bennelong restaurant at the Opera House, and Neil Perry's Rockpool group. Even representatives from celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal's Melbourne restaurant have shown an interest.
He said as well a expanding the international market, they had been working on a few new projects closer to home.
Brookie's Byron Slow Gin has just hit the market and is twist on the traditional style of sloe gin is made from sloe berries - Brookie's version uses Northern Rivers native Davidson plums instead.
The slow gin takes seven months to mature and, according to Mr Brook, has an almost port-like taste.
If you're not on your way to London any time soon and won't have the opportunity to pop into the Qantas lounge, perhaps you mind find the distillery's latest offering of interest.
You can now take a tour of Cape Byron Distillery to find out how the gin is made.
Mr Brook said customers can take a guided tour of the distillery and their rainforest to find out more about the flavours that go into making their homegrown product.
Bookings are essential at www.capebyrondistillery.com.