Kangaroo Island Spirits this week took out the Champion Gin Trophy at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards for its Old Tom Gin.
The accolade, handed out by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria in Melbourne, comes as the remote distillery prepares to install a second still to give it the capacity to enter the export market.
Kangaroo Island Spirits owners Jon and Sarah Lark have been distilling at Cygnet River for more than a decade. Jon, whose brother Bill founded renowned Tasmanian whisky distillery Lark, said the second still would have the ability to “significantly more than double” production, which currently sits at about 7000 litres a year.
“We’ve intentionally remained small over the years because we wanted to maintain control of our product but we’ve just been receiving so much interest, particularly in export, that we are about to install a 300-litre pot still,” he says. “Within 12-months we’ll have that running off solar power and have the only solar distillery in the country.”
Kangaroo Island Spirits has up to five gins using local botanicals and traditional processes in its range at any one time. It also produces vodka and liqueurs.
Jon said although the most significant sales were through the cellar door, wholesale was rapidly expanding with a great deal of interest from high-end bars, restaurants, and independent bottle shops across Australia.
The artisan distillery has received international inquiries from the United States, United Kingdom, and Asia. “I’d particularly like to go into Spain because Spain consumes more gin than the U.K. but a lot of people don’t realize that, and certainly Asia makes a lot of sense from here as well,” Jon said.