When it comes to knowledge about Australian gin, it’s hard to go past Caroline Childerley, founder of The Gin Queen and Icons of Gin Communicator of the Year, who has spent some of her iso-time compiling a catalogue of native Australian gins.
The iso-project has found over 500 different Australian gins are now available a huge improvement from the 10 or so gins available back when The Gin Queen launched in 2013.
“I’m quite shocked at how fast it is still going,” Caroline told Bars and Clubs. “Considering there were only 10 when I started it is nuts.”
In terms of what she thinks has driven that growth, Caroline added: “I think people like Sebastian Costello at Bad Frankie really drove that local interest. Emphasising that we have a lot of imported goods and Sebastian was really at the forefront of the ‘buy Australian’ push in bars.
“That’s driven interest in Australian gin and that came at a time when Australian whisky was bubbling up and winning awards, and helped people think more about Australian spirits.
“I also think bars and bartenders have driven gin consumption because we have got such a great cocktail culture and gin is one of the most versatile cocktail ingredients.
“As a country we are already known for our food and our wine and I think this is another strand to that where people like to know there are locally produced spirits.”
The Gin Queen also said that education has played a huge part in the growth of Australian gin, not only in understanding more about the product, but also the importance of using good tonic in good gin and consumers are constantly in search of more knowledge.
“The number of people know coming to Junipalooza, shows this,” Caroline told Bars and Clubs. “These are really keen people, they know what they are looking for, they come with the expectation they are going to meet the producers and make that connection, which we are really good at in Australia.
She added: “There are a lot of Australian distilleries that are doing well on the global stage, that I think we should all really proud of.”
Everything that is available on a distillery website is listed by Childerley, who said: “My list includes those brands with distilleries, but also those made under contract and ‘gypsy’ distillers who pay to use another distillery’s equipment.”
In revealing Victoria as Australia’s top-gin producing State with 50 producers, Childerley added: There is fierce (but friendly) competition between the States to crown themselves the ‘Australian Gin State’, but for now Victoria has a narrow lead over NSW which has 46 producers.”
Tasmania has 26 producers, SA 24, QLD 15, NT 2, ACT 3 and WA 14.
The full Australian Gin Directory is available on The Gin Queen website, along with a distillery map, which will become increasingly useful as we begin to emerge from isolation and holiday domestically.
“As we move into less overseas travel and people travelling at home more, people are going to want to get out and see things, so I think it’s really important to support those local businesses. I hope that my directory and accompanying distillery map will help Aussies get out to support these distillers once it is safe to travel again,” Childerley said.