Trending – Meet the MakersHomegrown in Australia
Trending – Meet the MakersHomegrown in Australia
100% Australian and proud of it
Meet Australia’s inspirational makers. Discover the backstory to your favourite alcohol-free drinks. Feel proud to be choosing Australian owned and made.
VIC | Distillery
Back yard still. Five friends. Good food. What could go wrong? Nothing, right?
That’s until one became pregnant and the other took up running. Suddenly, this happy group’s social dynamics changed. Overnight, these neighbours acing home distilling found themselves asking, “What does an alcohol-free lifestyle look like?”
Meet the Brunswick Aces.
Today the Brunswick Aces brand is synonymous with superior alcohol-free spirits sold Australia wide.
But back then, when first confronted with defining an alcohol-free lifestyle, Brunswick Aces founder Stephen Lawrence said, “We wanted everyone around our table to feel included and welcome whether they were drinking alcohol or not.”
So began the trio’s exploration into distilling zero alcohol spirits. And the philosophy of inclusion is what drives the business, even today.
Stephen believes that the focus on drinking to feel the effects of alcohol need to shift. Instead of the highlight being intoxication, the take-home should be connectedness and belonging.
“It’s not about us being prescriptive or preachy,” says Stephen. “It’s about being with friends, enjoying shared experiences and discovering new social rituals.”
Superior alcohol free spirits
Brunswick Aces currently produces two superb Sapiirs (alcohol free distillations).
The Brunswick Aces Sapiir Hearts is a beautifully balanced fusion of cassia bark, ginger and sweet citrus. Mixed with tonic water, ice and lemon, it makes a perfect alcohol free afternoon cocktail or a delightful summer refreshment.
Similarly, the Brunswick Aces Sapiir Spades leads with notes of green cardamon yet is delicately balanced with fresh citrus and Australian native lemon Myrtle flavours.
The smooth gin-like finish and superior flavours result from individual steam distillation of the botanicals and a well-crafted methodology and precise timing.
“We’re not sure if our distilling process is unique to Brunswick Aces,” explains Stephen. “But we do know that we did not base our method on ordinary distillation processes.”
It’s all in the name – Sapiir
Stephan says Sapiir means superior. “We didn’t want to put the word ‘non’ in the name given each blend was consciously distilled with flavour and integrity at the centre.”
Perhaps Sapiir will become a new class of ‘superior’ alcohol free gin-like spirits.
Brunswick Aces Bar – Victoria
For the Brunswich Aces trio, gone are the days of gathering around their back yard still perfecting their processes while chatting and enjoying sumptuous food.
Brunswick Aces now has Australia’s first predominantly alcohol-free bar and bottle shop.
And people are turning out in droves to support it. On a Friday or Saturday night, queues form outside.
Providing patrons with superior alcohol-free choices and a hip venue to socialise isn’t the only card up Brunswick Aces sleeve. Plans are in the pipeline to establish Australia’s first Non-Alcoholic Distilling Association.
Either way, Stephen and his team plan to keep Aussie spirits high.
Clovendoe Distilling – The Spirit of Girl Power
QLD | Distillery
Catie Fry is the inspirational founder of Clovendoe Distilling, the first all-female distilling company in Australia.
Today the Clovendoe brand is synonymous with the distinctive Botanic Distilled Clovendoe Zero range.
Yet, the path to liquor producing and retailing wasn’t a straight line. Catie’s journey to becoming a master distiller meandered, ducked and dived.
“There is a lot of gender bias in the distilling industry. I was even advised not to go for such a strongly gendered branding on the labels.”
But Catie stuck to her conviction, saying, “I doubt Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, or Johnny Walker got told they should not design such a masculine-looking label.”
So Catie forged her ahead with her distinctive brand, creating botanic distillations to celebrate feminine spirit and energy.
Zero alcohol inspiration
While necessity is the mother of all inventions, Catie believes being pregnant and raising small children is a close second.
“Early mornings with little people and having no desire for a hangover in the morning, yet not wanting to miss out on the party got me thinking about alcohol-free spirits.”
Catie felt sure she wasn’t alone in her desire to wake the following morning with no regrets about the night before. And after some initial research, Catie identified a considerable gap in the market. Few were making sophisticated alcohol-free spirits.
So, as a master of the craft of distilling good gin, Catie put her talents to work. She experimented with infusing irresistible botanical flavours to create sophisticated profiles. Out of this, the Clovendoe Zero range was born.
But Catie is quick to emphasise that her Clovendoe Zero range is not an alcohol-free gin or vodka replica. “We’re not trying to be something we’re not.”
Instead, “The base spirit is the canvas, and the botanicals allow me to play. That’s why the Clovendoe botanic distilled alcohol-free spirits are in a class of their own.”
The craft of distilling
Skilled in traditional distilling methods, no one more than Catie understands that making a sophisticated zero proof range involves much trial and error.
“Using steam, I was always looking for ways to extract the most concentrated levels of flavour from the 21 unique, ethically sourced and locally produced botanicals I work with.”
Distilling is a craft, and exacting the perfect flavour is a subtle art. That’s why, just like wine vintages, my botanical distillations differ slightly with each batch.
Mixing it up with Clovendoe
If you’re new to Clovendoe Zero spirits, Catie recommends using soda water as the mixer.
“It’s important not to mask the infusion of sophisticated flavours profiled in our Clovendoe Seed Zero, Sprout Zero, or Stem Zero botanic spirits.”
The spirit of girl power in a bottle
Catie believes Clovendoe’s success is due to her rolling up her sleeves and just doing it. But credit also goes to inspirational women and people who constantly reminded her that what she was doing was worthwhile.
So if you’re aiming for complete sobriety or simply want to drink less, get ready to experience the bold and complex qualities in each sip of Clovendoe Zero.
Cheers to First Nation flavours
NSW | Distillery
Nathalie Gits and Marie Lang are no ordinary makers. Together they founded Violet & Gold. A brand many recognise for its delicious syrup drink mixers.
Yet, it’s hard to imagine Nathalie and Marie started from humble beginnings when their mission is to bring their super-fancy syrups made from Australian native botanicals to everyone’s lips.
United by their love of food, plants and cooking, the Violet & Gold story begins when Marie Liang offered Nathalie Gits a few quinces in April last year. To cook the quinces, Nathalie made a syrup using Tasmanian pepper berries and spices from her kitchen.
Marie could not stop raving about how delicious Nathalie’s syrup was and the rest, as they say, is history.
Immediately the duo asked of themselves, “What if we made syrup mixers using Australian botanicals like lemon myrtle, strawberry gum and wattleseed?”
Violet & Gold was born.
In a recent online interview, Marie said, “It’s such a good way to celebrate the ingredients native to this beautiful country, in a way that feels true to us as well.”
Over serval months, the pair refined their recipes. Violet & Gold officially launched in November 2020.
100 per cent Australian grown
All the ingredients in Violet and Gold syrups, whether from local or interstate growers or Indigenous wild harvesters, are 100 per cent Australian grown.
Australian Native Food & Botanicals (ANFAB)
As members of the not-for-profit Australian Native Food & Botanicals (ANFAB) organisation, Marie and Nathalie are strong advocates for promoting Australian native foods.
Their mission is to support local and First Nation growers by promoting Australian native flavours worldwide using their Violet & Gold drink mixers.
And as the mission statement on their website reads, ‘We regard it as our personal challenge to make sure these distinctive and exciting flavours brighten up the world’.
Whether you’re aiming for complete sobriety or simply want to drink less, start your journey by using superior Australian made syrups to create amazing tasting, alcohol-free drinks.
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In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge and pay respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of Ngoongar country where we work and to the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices and the connection to land, sea and community of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Ancestors have walked this country and we acknowledge their special and unique place in our nation’s historical, cultural and linguistic identity.