A sensory experience you will not forget with the aim of sustainability at the forefront of this Adelaide Hills distillery.
Sustainable spirits crafted from the land
Set in the beautiful township of Gumeracha, surrounded by vineyards, farmland and orchards, it is clear the founders of Applewood Distillery, Brendan and Laura Carter, have been inspired by Australia’s unique geological landscape and native botanical flora. Originally situated in Lobethal, the trained wine makers, under the brand name of Unico Zelo, moved to the Gumeracha site in 2014 and then launched as Applewood Distillery in 2015.
This distillery’s meaningful ethos, From the Land we Belong to, ignites the idea of belonging, that you do not own the land, but are merely custodians of it, which is the soul behind the crafting of Applewood Distillery’s sustainable spirits.
A botanical learning experience
As you wind through the Adelaide Hills and approach the distillery it delivers a monumental sense of being. The building, once a cold store in the early 1920s, has now been transformed, with respect to its original heritage, into a modern and functioning space made of Corten steel with reclaimed galvanized iron and old red bricks. The inviting indoor and outdoor spaces with jarrah tables and cosy nooks, along with the warm smells of lemon myrtle makes for the linger-longer experience.
Upon visiting Applewood distillery and bar, the choice of gin, infused with an array of native unique Australian botanicals and matching elements, such as lemon peel and wild thyme, encourages the guest to be adventurous in sampling a flavour that may never have touched the tongue. Be taken on a rare botanical experience, be it of clove, bright citrus, or aromatic sweet spices, that celebrates the longest surviving human indigenous culture on earth, while connecting with Australian ingredients – macadamia, lemon aspen, Kakadu plum, muntries, Davidson plum, bush apple, karkalla and riberries.
For those with a less experimental palate the Applewood Gin, with desert lime, native wattle seed and fragrant peppermint gum leaf and other sustainable farmed ingredients, is available to try. Not only can visitors fill their bellies with gin, liqueurs, and the distillery’s first 100% Australian whisky – Jarrah, but also hot scrumptious food and coffee brew options, sourced from local producers.
For someone who yearns for the learning experience this distillery provides an interactive tour of the operations, and a tasting experience that allows the visitor to sample core sustainable spirits derived from places of Country – Yurrebilla, Heysen and Larapinta.
Certifiably a force of good
At the heart of Applewood Distillery, is the desire to produce spirits in the most sustainable way possible and to leave the industry and land better than they found it. So, in 2019they became Australia’s first B Corporation Certified distillery. Not only does this certification flow into the three sustainable and ethical initiatives – reuse, recycle and redistribute, which they aim to apply to all aspects of operation, but part of their commitment is to donate a percentage of revenue to environmental initiatives. Part sales of Coral gin are being donated to the not-for-profit social enterprise, Reef Restoration Foundation. As-to-date, $3856.30 has been donated to this cause.
Although the majority of juniper is not locally sourced due to the multitude of difficulties in growing this core ingredient in Australia, Applewood Distillery seeks to discover and use other native components. The belief is that native flavours, ingredients, and products are to be celebrated, honoured and shared at an Australian and global scale, therefore educating consumers but also acknowledging the uniqueness and vulnerability of the land which it is from.
Applewood Distillery recognises that their operations will always have an impact, which is why sustainability has always been a key part of their mission. Initiatives outlined in their sustainable tracker include producing wine from low-water-use grape varieties; a growers co-operative known as Harvest Social Cantina, supporting farmers who choose more sustainable options, the installation of two electric vehicle charging stations, and the replacement of pens for good old-fashioned ever reliable pencil.
So, if you’re looking for a chance to get out of the city to venture into the Adelaide Hills, then grab your friends or family and share a ride to Applewood Distillery of Gumeracha for an experience that will evoke the sensors and leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside. A place famous for the Big Rocking Horse, and now for its splendid gins with creative and native botanical elements and a business that is dedicated to environmental and social sustainability.
But remember what your Mum would say – drink responsibly and designate a driver!
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