It’s all about the new on the Gold Coast at the moment, with the area’s newest gin manufacturer opening the newest bar, with new cocktails and award-winning gin.
It’s been a huge 12 months for the pair behind Wildflower Gin, James Greig and Tudor Duxbury, after being persuaded by friends they should be selling the gins they were making. They walked through the minefield of red tape dealing with local councils, state and federal governments before finally being ready to launch the distillery, one week before COVID hit.
“Initially we weren’t a gin distillery at all,” James told Bars and Clubs, “we were a hand sanitiser manufacturer.”
But despite all the stress that came with the sudden change, and the uncertainty it caused across the whole industry, there proved to be something of a silver lining for the Wildflower guys.
“At the time everyone was really worried about COVID, and there was no hand sanitiser. So we had thousands and thousands of orders coming in from online and almost instantly overnight, the Gold Coast became aware that we existed.
“When we were lucky enough to finally be able to launch our gin a few months later we immediately sold out. We had a pallet of bottles that we thought might take us three or four months to get through and it was gone almost straightaway.
“It was fantastic in one respect but also a problem from another, because part of the problem is that our bottles come from France so it took a good 10 to 12 weeks before we were able to get back in stock again.”
To keep going while the full bottles couldn’t be sold the team moved to selling gin and tonic in a can, which worked well for them locally and kept the brand front and centre for Gold Coast locals.
The Wildflower Signature Gin then won a gold medal at the Australian Gin Awards, once again driving up its popularity, and was also a surprising and exciting award for James and Tudor, but also unexpected because, as James said: “We had really just made the gin for our own palate”.
The pair went through 76 iterations of various botanicals to create the gin, but bringing in James’ other passion for beekeeping, really brought the gin to life.
“One of the botanicals we include is honey from my backyard and if you’ve ever tasted backyard honey it’s very floral and light because the bees are just going to everyone’s flowers and plants in their backyards.
“I think that’s a big part of why it’s been successful, one because it makes a really floral and nice gins but also because everyone in Burleigh gets to contribute to our gins by having flowers in their backyards, and that’s why we call ourselves Wildflower.”
And while it wasn’t always the intention to open a bar, James told Bars and Clubs they always had intentions for people to be able to come in and have tastings and really understand the Wildflower story.
He said: “The feedback we got as more and more people came in the cellar door to do tastings was that they thought the bar would be a really good extension. And one thing we’ve realised over the last year or so is that Wildflower really does have a life of its own and this is just another step in our growth.”
As for the bar itself, James said: “Like our gin, this is a space that we wanted to be in with our friends. The best way to describe it is like an old speakeasy bar with old leather Chesterfield couches that you can sink into with a gin in hand.
“One of my passions is collecting cool and interesting stuff, so we have that dotted all around the bar and distillery. We have an old Model T Ford rim that’s more than 100 years and we’ve converted that into a chandelier that sits above the Chesterfields.”
Other collectables on display include 100-year-old phones plus old typewrites and even a piano, “when we were creating the distillery, we wanted to make a space that feels personal and spoke to the heart of WildFlower so we included a range of fascinating vintage items to represent the individual botanicals in our gin, as well as the 1000 litre still we use when creating our gin,” James said.
The Wildflower Gin Distillery bar opened on Saturday and was fully booked for the weekend, with guests also loving that pets are welcome and even for those who don’t have pets then distillery dog Ghost is always around for petting.
The bar is located at 2/486 Scottsdale Dr, Varsity Lakes 4227, bookings are essential and can also be made for gin making and gin tasting session, with BYO food. and of course dogs, welcome.