Photo by Co-Lab Pantry
By Tehya Nicholas
For most of us, coming up with a business plan while drunk doesn’t usually end well. For Russ Watson and Lorelle Warren, the opposite is true. It was a trip to the Scottish highlands, drinking glass after glass of premium whiskey, that sparked the idea of opening a distillery on their home turf of the Bellarine - and the flame wasn’t extinguished by morning.
In fact, the spark transformed into a wildfire, spurring them from masterclasses with world-renowned distillers to opening their very own distillery in 2015. The first whiskeys were barrelled, the first gins concocted and three years later, the doors were swung open to the very thirsty public.
Small batched and hand crafted, the couple say their gin is their “party starter”. Judging from the warm reception it has received on the peninsula and beyond, plus the multitude of awards won, we’d say they’re about right.
“Each of our gins have completely different recipes, so there is significant effort put into the development of each flavour profile. We take great pride in crafting unique products utilising quality botanicals.”
Strong citrus characteristics with orange and lemon myrtle come to the fore in their celebrated Teddy & The Fox gin, while the Rosey & The Rabbits gin features Juniper spirit, distilled apricots and Middle Eastern black limes, blended together in ex Pinot Noir barrels. The complexity in each flavour profile of every bottle must be tasted to be believed.
While the gin flies off the shelves at their cellar door The Whiskery, their whiskey continues to mature with an ever growing hoard of eager fans. The first drop is anticipated to arrive early 2021, but the team is careful not to rush perfection. All we know for now is that industry experts have described the whiskey as exceptional…
From drunken dreams to rustic realities, The Bellarine Distillery and their rustic cellar door has introduced quality artisan spirits to the peninsula for the first time since 1970. It’s a change that has united liquor-lovers and dry drinkers alike in an welcoming atmosphere of family, fun and laid-back hospitality.
Whether you’re stopping by the farm and cellar door, or ordering a bottle for your home collection, the love of a good drink - and pride in its slow, authentic making process - will be felt in every drop from the Bellarine Distillery.