Australia’s Best Gin Distilleries: A Juniper-Led Journey Around The Country

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This one is for the lovers of Australian gin…

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If you can plan a getaway around the incredible wineries and eateries in a region, there’s no reason you can’t plan one around visiting a gin distillery too. Now you can tour Australia’s best gin distilleries, state by state.

ACT

Big River Distilling Co

There are just a handful of boutique distillers in the country’s capital, and Big River Distilling Co is the only one that you can pay a visit in person for your on-site gin fix. Established in 2017, the distillery is known for it’s Canberra Dry Gin – a juniper-forward gin with citrus characters from coriander, lime, navel oranges and Australian lemon myrtle. Come for the iconic Canberra Dry Gin, and stay for the novel apple and cinnamon ‘Cinn gin’, and a tipple of their vodka too.

A guided tasting of all three of the distillery’s drops is available (including mixers and garnishes) for $10 per person.

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Opening Hours

Fri – Sun: 12pm – 6 pm

Wed – Thurs: 12pm – 5 pm

Mon – Tues: by appointment

Big River Distilling Co, Tenancy 3 Building 3, 1 Dairy Road Fyshwick, Canberra ACT 2609

NSW

Archie Rose

Rosebery’s Archie Rose distillery – the kingpin of all gin distilleries – is a ‘must visit’ on a juniper fuelled tour of Australia. Just a few kilometres south of Sydney, the upmarket distillery and bar sit in good company with Black Star Pastry, Three Blue Ducks, and The Cannery as neighbours.

If you’re impressed by the booth seats and striking copper stills of the venue, wait until you see what they have to pour. Along with their two core gins – a signature dry and a distiller’s strength – Archie Rose always has a limited edition collaboration or two on the go. Past expressions have included an Australian coastal gin (with flavours of sea lettuce, peach, and coconut) and two gins produced in collaboration with the Sydney Opera House.

Opening Hours

Weds – Fri: 4.30pm – 11.00pm

Sat: 12.00pm – 11.30pm

Sun: 12.00pm – 10.00pm

Archie Rose, 85 Dunning Ave, Rosebery NSW 2018

Australian gin distilleries Poor Tom's
Source: Poor Toms Facebook

Poor Tom’s

Sydney’s inner west is a craft beer mecca. It’s a pretty hop-heavy mecca at that, with five breweries in the suburb of Marrickville alone. Sure, that makes Marrickville an obvious choice for beer lovers, but gin lovers needn’t go punching a different destination into Google Maps just yet.

Tucked away on an industrial street in Marrickville is the Poor Tom’s distillery and their inviting Gin Hall. It has been described as an oasis in the area, offering punters a relaxed, green-filled space to sit and sip on what’s been hailed as Sydney’s ‘best gin’. Start on their signature ‘Sydney’ gin, before moving onto their punch-packing ‘Fool’s Cut’ (big, bold, and boozy), strawberry gin, and lastly, the distillery’s attempt at an amaro.

Opening Hours

Fri: 3.00pm – 9:30pm

Sat: 12:00pm – 9:30pm

Sun: 12:00pm – 9:30pm

Poor Tom’s, 6 Chalder Ave, Marrickville NSW 2204

Manly Spirits Co

Beaches and good booze – what more can you ask for in the perfect day? Sydney’s northern beaches are known for their relaxed, coastal vibe and urban sophistication, and so too is their local artisan distillery, Manly Spirits Co.

Located a 15-minute drive from the Manly ferry wharf, the distillery welcomes locals, day-trippers, and holiday-makers to their cellar door and tasting bar seven days a week. Enjoy a specially crafted gin cocktail over a cheese board or pizza, book in for a distillery tour, or join in on one of the gin yoga classes that run every Sunday – once COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

Opening Hours

Mon – Thur: 8.30am – 5.00pm

Fri: 8.30am – 10.00pm

Sat: 12.00pm – 10.00pm

Sun: 12.00pm – 6.00pm

Manly Spirits Co, 4A/9-13 Winbourne Rd, Brookvale NSW 2100

QLD

Mt Uncle Distillery

Nestled into the foothill of Mount Uncle in far north Queensland, Mt Uncle Distillery is a nature (and spirit) lover’s delight. The distillery is a part of a banana plantation, with the cellar door hidden in amongst beautifully landscaped tropical gardens on the property. If you fancy a stroll through the gardens, there’s a good chance you’ll meet the friendly alpacas, donkeys, goats, and peacocks on the property too.

Gin isn’t Mt Uncle Distillery’s only distillate, with rums, vodkas, liqueurs, and even whiskies on the line up too. Before getting stuck into the other spirits on offer, taste testing the Botanic Australis, navy strength, and ‘bushfire’ smoked gins is a must.

Opening Hours

Mon – Sun: 10.00am – 4.00pm

Mt Uncle Distillery, 1819 Chewko Rd, Walkamin QLD 4872

Fortune Noosa Heads Distillery

Fortune Noosa Heads Distillery in Noosaville is just over a year old, but what they lack in age they more than make up for in the quality of their three hero distillates – gin, vodka, and a white malt.

The distillery is inside the Land & Sea brewery, but each business has its own distinct area. If you’re there for a gin tasting, you’ll be greeted by the mammoth copper still that commands the tasting area. It’s one of the largest in Australia, and it provides the perfect backdrop for some gin sipping. With two alcohol-fuelled businesses in the same building, if you happen to book into one of the 90-minute tours, you’ll be getting the best of both the beer and spirit worlds. You’ll also be getting a tasting paddle of both ‘Fortune’s’ fine spirits and Land & Sea’s craft beers.

Opening Hours

Fri: 5.00pm – late

Sat – Sun: 1.00pm – late

Fortune Noosa Heads Distillery, 19 Venture Drive, Noosaville QLD 4567

SA

Prohibition Liquor Co

Right in the heart of Adelaide, Prohibition Liquor Co is a true city distillery and cellar door. The stylish, glass-clad venue is somewhat of an outpost for craft gins from all over the world. But, first and foremost, it’s the outpost for the distillery’s own three gins.

Prohibition gin, Bathtub Cut gin, and Shiraz Barrel gin – no need to choose, grab one of their gin flights, and you’ll taste them all. If you’d prefer your gin mixed in with another something, there’s no shortage of signature cocktail or G & T options. Whatever your choice, enjoy it with a tasty side of gourmet toastie or a piled-up platter, and a view of the distillery’s pride and joy, ‘Mary’ (their copper pot still).

Opening Hours

Thurs – Sat: 11.30am – 11.00pm

Sun: 11.30am – 7.00pm

Prohibition Liquor Co, 22 Gilbert St, Adelaide SA 5000

Australian gin distilleries Kangaroo Island Spirits
Source: Kangaroo Island Spirits

Kangaroo Island Spirits

There are a million and one reasons to make the trip out to South Australia’s pristine Kangaroo Island, and visiting Kangaroo Island Spirits makes a darn good one. Not only is the distillery a picturesque spot to unwind with a craft tipple, but it was awarded the title of ‘best contemporary gin’ in the International Wine & Spirit Competition.

There’s something for every palate, producing no less than seven different gins, from a signature gin to mulberry or whisky barrel-aged gin. If the weather permits, enjoy your tipple in the quaint, country-esque garden, or else enjoy a cosy guided tasting session by the bar.

Opening Hours

Mon – Sun: 10.00am – 5.00pm

Kangaroo Island Spirits, 856 Playford Hwy, Cygnet River SA 5223

Never Never Distilling Co

If knowing that a local pizzeria caters the food, that dogs are allowed, and that picnic blankets on the lawn are encouraged doesn’t have you in the car making a beeline for Never Never Distilling Co, we don’t know what will. Located just a half-hour drive out of Adelaide in McLaren Vale, this distillery is a ‘can’t miss’ destination.

Never mind the delicious gins on offer (six of them in total) because the views from the distillery door might overshadow them. Just. Looking out over the rolling Adelaide hills, the view is as much of an experience as the drinks. Soak it all up with a gin tasting flight – from the signature gin to a navy strength, triple-juniper gin – or take it easy with a cocktail or two instead.

Opening Hours

Thurs – Mon: 11:30am – 5.00pm

Never Never Distilling Co, 56 Field St, McLaren Vale SA 5171

TAS

Australian gin distilleries Institut Polaire
Source: Institut Polaire

Institute Polaire

Inspired by the wilderness of mountain, mist, and cloud forest, Süd Polaire is an incredibly smooth gin made for the perfect martini. Everything about this gin is clean cut – from the flavour to the branding and its sleek home at the micro-distillery-come-bar, Institut Polaire.

Completely decked out in grey, silver, and white, this upmarket bar is described as a ‘cold climate wine and spirits bar’. Though arctic in nature, there’s nothing cold about this divine experience. Enjoy dishes such as local Bruny Island oysters, monster prawns, or King Island beef tataki, while sipping on the distillery’s signature ‘Antarctic’ spirit, saffron gin, French oak cask gin, or pinot cask gin.

Opening Hours

Weds – Fri: 3.00pm – late

Sat: 12.00pm – late

Sun: 3.00pm – late

Süd Polaire, 1/7 Murray Street, Hobart TAS 7000 

Southern Wild Distillery

Home of Dasher + Fisher gin, Southern Wild Distillery in Devonport is one of Tasmania’s premier gin producers. Headed up by an ex-food scientist, Dasher + Fisher gin is not your average punter’s gin.

The distillery highlights the pure water and fresh, locally grown ingredients of northwestern Tasmania, producing three core gins – mountain, meadow, and ocean gins. Owner George will happily take you on a tour of the urban distillery if you let him know ahead of time, otherwise sit back and enjoy ‘the best new bar in the region’, Southern Wild Lounge + Bar.

Opening Hours

Mon – Thurs: 12.00pm – 6.00pm

Fri – Sat: 12.00pm – 10.00pm

Sun: 10.00am – 5.00pm

Southern Wild Distillery, 13-17 Oldaker Street, Devonport TAS 7310

VIC

Bass and Flinders

Bass and Flinders have been producing grape-based spirits for ten years. Handcrafted from either shiraz or chardonnay grapes grown on their property, the base spirits form the perfect platform from which to build their revered gins.

The distillery produces four core gins, that can be sampled in a tasting or a paddle at their distillery door, as well as a range of limited-edition gins to add to your home bar collection. Experiment a little and try their ‘Angry Ant’ gin – yes, it contains real ants from Wooleen Station! Or try their latest Maritime gin (an ode to their coastal home where fresh, salty air meets eucalypts and the wine-growing hinterland) and Orient gin (mandarin, native strawberry gum, kaffir lime leaf, and Sichuan pepper). Sip on your concoction of choice out on the lawn, or revel in the light, bright, and super sleek gin bar inside.

If you prefer your gin with a side of education, you can book into one of Bass and Flinders’ masterclasses to get you up to speed on the spirit. If you prefer your gin with a side of substance, well, they’ll feed you too.

Opening Hours

Fri – Sun: 11.00am – 6.00pm

Bass and Flinders, 40 Collins Rd, Dromana VIC 3936

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Little Lon Distilling Co

Little Lon Distilling Co‘s gins are as unique as they come. Housed in Melbourne CBD’s last remaining single-story building, this quaint joint is full of history – and great gin.

Once a house of debauchery, this teeny little brick building – inconspicuous and unassuming – is now the home of a small-batch Melbourne gin. Hidden down an alleyway, the three-room cottage has just enough space for a still, a fermentation room, and a bar for 20 people. Though it’s small, the distillery is mighty, producing four different gins and a range of pre-batched cocktails.

If it’s quirky, stories, and one memorable experience you’re after, you’ll find it here.

Opening Hours

Thurs: 4.00pm – 9.00pm

Fri: 4.00pm – 11.00pm

Sat: 5.00pm – 9.00pm 

Little Lon Distilling Co, 17 Casselden Pl, Melbourne VIC 3000

Great Ocean Road Gin
Source: Great Ocean Road Gin

One and a half hour’s drive from Melbourne, Great Ocean Road Gin is the perfect leg-stretching pit stop for Apollo Bay-bound travellers. Stop in for a refreshing G & T (soda water for the skipper) before continuing your journey to the much-loved holiday destination.

The distillery currently has two gins to choose from; both made with a concoction of 24 different botanicals, nine of which are local to the region. For the not-so-enthusiastic gin fans, they also have a limited range of house-made liqueurs, and local craft beers and wine to sip on. Enjoy your tipple barside, or make the most of the sunshine in their quaint garden space.

Great Ocean Road Gin, 32 Great Ocean Rd, Aireys Inlet VIC 3231

WA

Westwinds Gin

Westwinds Gin is one of WA’s most recognisable gin brands, but nobody knows where to find their Margaret River distillery; it’s a highly guarded secret. Even without being able to visit the distillery itself, fans of the brand can find themselves fully immersed in a Westwinds gin-sperience.

Head to Bob’s Bar and Bites on a Friday or Saturday evening and seek out the hidden Westwinds Gin bar for a cheeky weekend gin and tonic (we’ve heard the new Native Spirits gin with Geraldton wax is one to reach for!). Or for a more educational experience, consider booking into one of the many distilling masterclasses (where you get to make your own bottle of gin) or cocktail masterclasses the brand ambassadors run out of the space.

Opening Hours

Fri – Sat: 8.00pm – 1.00am

Westwinds Gin, 742 Newcastle St, Leederville WA 6007

Giniversity

If you’re headed down to WA’s south-west corner, there’s no better gin pit stop than the Margaret River Distilling Company, home of the much-loved Giniversity gin. Producing no less than six gins (including smoked hemp, and a barrel-aged gin), it’s a good thing the distillery offers accommodation on the property too!

Tucked in amongst the region’s fragrant peppermint trees, the distillery welcomes visitors for food, gin and whisky tastings, and ‘giniversity’ – a series of on-site gin-making masterclasses.

Opening Hours

Weds – Sun: 11.00am – 5.00pm

Giniversity, Maxwell Street (off Carters Road), Margaret River, WA 6285

Feature image: Prohibition Liquor Co

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Australia's Best Gin Distilleries: A Juniper-Led Journey Around The Country

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