Anybody with even a passing interest in quality booze won’t have missed the explosion in craft gin in recent years. The number of Australian gin distillers alone has grown from about 20 in 2014 to more than 100. If the rapidly soldout Juniperlooza gin festival at South Wharf this Saturday is anything to go by, our thirst for gin is still a long way from being quenched.
Steven Carr from the Riverland Group, which launched Juniperlooza in 2015, says the 1600 tickets to this year’s festival sold out in record time. “The whole interest in gin has coincided with a shift in the approach to drinking that’s now more about quality over quantity,” he says. “Gin expresses a sense of place … and the use of indigenous Australian ingredients has really sparked people’s interest.”
All but three of the producers at Juniperlooza are Australian, including Patient Wolf, made in Brunswick. Matt Argus, the brand’s co-founder and co-distiller (with Dave Irwin) says from the time they started experimenting with a tiny “stovetop” still, they wanted to give their gin a distinctly Aussie flavour profile.
“We use 10 different botanicals,” he says. “The gin’s juniper-forward but we’ve also created something unique using aniseed myrtle, Australian coriander seed and organic ruby grapefruit and oranges that we buy locally.” With 65 per cent of Juniperlooza tickets snapped up by women aged 25-35, gin’s fan base appears to skew young. It could be its “moment” has just begun.
JUNIPERLOOZA \ November 18, noon-8pm, The Boatbuilders Yard, 23 South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf. Tickets $45, wait list only