In among the challenges of this year Holly Klintworth at Bass & Flinders Distillery has adapted the business to produce hand sanitiser, released new gins, built up virtual masterclasses and crucially kept working on the amazing brandies the distillery produces.
Earlier in the year the distillery released a Distiller’s Selection Single Cask brandy and this month saw the launch of a Christmas Spiced Brandy and Holly told Bars and Clubs, that brandy was where she really wanted to focus.
“I’ve really started to shift our focus towards brandy because it was really the inspiration behind us founding the distillery in the first place. We have made gin over the years and gin has been quite popular, but brandy is the heart of what we do, so I am trying to keep the focus on that.”
And as for whether the Australian consumer is ready to re-engage with brandy, Holly says: “My hope is yes.”
She added: “My plan is to make that a reality. Hopefully through our brandy masterclasses, and one of the reasons we are doing that is to start beating the drum of brandy, and start to educate people on that. I think that’s a good place to start and help people to understand that brandy is not just something that your grandmother drinks.”
The brandy masterclass in another string in the expanding Bass & Flinders bow, and Holly told Bars and Clubs about the concept.
“We just launched the spiced brandy masterclass and it’s a similar concept to our gin masterclass. Originally I was thinking about doing a blend your brandy class, but I was just a bit concerned that the nuances of the differences between brandies was a lot harder most people, unless you are quite heavily into your spirits.
“So I think that the spiced brandy would be more popular to a broader audience. So it’s about infusing brandy with different spices and we’ve kind of timed it to coincide with the launch of our Christmas brandy. But those spiced brandy masterclasses will become a regular event as well. It’s a two-hour class, one about brandy, one about its history then blend your own spiced brandy and walk away with a 500ml bottle of your creation.”
Holly said that the Spiced Christmas Brandy was inspired by her grandmother’s Christmas pudding recipe, “I got hold of that recipe and pretty much infused all those ingredients into a brandy. I was really going for Christmas pudding in a bottle-style of brandy. It’s not too sweet, there’s a little bit of natural sugar from the fruits, but it’s not like a sweet spiced rum, it’s much more of an elegant spiced brandy.”
The Distiller’s Selection Single Cask brandy won the trophy for Best Brandy and the trophy for the Best Small Cask Maturation at the Tasting Australian Spirit Awards, and Holly said: “In the middle of the year we do a stocktake and we look at all the barrels and all the contents and we measure and analyse them.
“We came across that barrel and we thought it pretty much tasted like a finished product. So it’s a single cask bottling at 48 per cent and it’s a really nice brandy.”
The passion Holly has for brandy is clear to hear and it certainly transfers into the bottle with some amazing brandies coming from the distillery. With the focus for Holly and the team now being really pointed towards brandy it will be exciting to see what else comes and will certainly help educate consumer about the wonders of Australian brandy and why it’s not just a drink for your grandmother.