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Distilleries

Gin & a business tonic

‘Mother’s Ruin’ is enjoying a global revival, with craft distillers pushing creative boundaries and inquisitive consumers caring about foraged botanicals, notes of cardamom or kawakawa, and the story behind the still. Sophie Preece explains more about some of the Top of the South distillers who are well and truly in with a gin.

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ide by side with the Top of the South’s thriving boutique and gourmet food and wine ventures, are a select number of small distilleries, slowly but surely carving out a name for themselves. Marlborough is home to one of the oldest and longest-surviving distillation companies while Motupipi in Golden Bay and Reefton on the neighbouring West Coast are home to some of the newest. Prenzel in Marlborough has its origins in the long defunct Alsace New Zealand Distilling Company, registered in 1992 and New Zealand’s first commercial fruit brandy distillery. Using an artisanal still named Alouette, smuggled in from France (where they were outlawed) across the Swiss border then on to New Zealand, the company initially produced a range of fruit brandies and Waterloo gin. Now under the ownership of Kiwi Flavour Infusions Limited, the Prenzel brand still includes gin, along with a wide range of fruit brandies, limited edition liqueurs, schnapps, infused rice bran oils and sea salts, gourmet vinegars and more.

TeKiwi 100% Blue Agave Spirit won the New Zealand Innovation Award at last month’s inaugural New Zealand Spirits Awards in Wellington. 38

Some distance away in Golden Bay, distillation entrepreneur Terry Knight and his partner Rachel Raine recently established their Kiwi Spirit Distillery, after selling their initial Schnapp Dragon enterprise in Takaka. Purpose-built, the new distillery sits on New Zealand’s only blue agave plantation, just outside of Takaka. Terry has developed a range of world class, award-winning, handcrafted products including several different gins, and New Zealand’s first blue agave spirit. TeKiwi 100% Blue Agave Spirit won the New Zealand Innovation Award at last month’s inaugural New Zealand Spirits Awards in Wellington. The awards attracted 254 entries from both local and international distilleries. Meanwhile a small, West Coast distillery is also gaining an international reputation especially for its gin. Reefton Distilling Co – based in the heritage town whose name it bears – recently won two medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, followed by four at the inaugural New Zealand Spirits Awards. Medal-winning products include several of its Little Biddy gin range plus its Wild Rain Vodka and Tarberry Liqueur. A unique difference at Reefton Distilling is that the company uses as many locally foraged and gathered ingredients as possible. Its gin, for instance, includes ingredients that they select from the forest on the morning that they distil.

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WildTomato June 2019  

Local Distilleries | New Hospice | Hanmer Springs | Marlborough Book Festival | Mountain Bike Club | Arts Festival Trust | Fashion Finery |...

WildTomato June 2019  

Local Distilleries | New Hospice | Hanmer Springs | Marlborough Book Festival | Mountain Bike Club | Arts Festival Trust | Fashion Finery |...