First gin distillery turns history into one-of-a-kind drop
A simple passing comment from a top Brisbane neurosurgeon was the catalyst for the the Granite Belt's first gin distillery, Diviners Gin.
Distilled at Bent Road Winery, the drop was created when retired neurosurgeon Frank Tomlinson approached friends and winery owners Robert Richter and Glen Robert with a wild suggestion, according to distiller Andrew Scott.
"There was a dinner party at Frank's house and after one too many martinis he said, 'wouldn't it be fun to make some gin?'" Mr Scott said.
"After that, it kind of kept cropping up and every time it was a little bit harder to shrug off as a flight of fancy."
The idea really took shape after a trip to London, when Mr Tomlinson saw a top gin bar use a Rotavap, an cutting-edge rotary vacuum evaporator able to distil gin at room temperature.
On a whim, he purchased a Rotavap for the team, and the rest was history.
Mr Scott, Bent Road Winery's assistant winemaker, said the process of gin distillation wasn't that different to wine fermentation.
"Distillation has a lot in common with wine. The fundamentals are a very physical and chemical process but at end of the day the aim is to use those tools to create something that tastes good," he said.
This was where the sommelier's extensive study into gin history made a unique point of difference.
Showcasing the split between pre-1920 "classical" gin to the renaissance gin seen today Mr Scott was able to create two distinct styles: Apparition and Outlier.
"Apparition is an old school gin with juniper, wood spices, wormwood and native wattle seeds. At 40 per cent alcohol it doesn't need a lot of dilution, you have can it on the rocks," he said.
"Outlier is packed with citrus - cumquats, mandarins, finger lime and lemon. It's zesty and aromatic with 46 per cent concentration and is designed to be diluted.
"Gin is a big and crowded marketplace so we wanted to give a sense of place and tie to the land but stay away from the more overused."
Mr Scott said the positive response just proved the Granite Belt was continuing to thrive as a place for innovation.
"I've been here eight years and the industry as a whole has changed a lot from a tourism point of view. The winery and cellar door has really evolved over the decade," he said.
"There's a higher percentage of qualified winemakers investing in technology and quality in the last 10 years.
"People have a lot more access to doing this stuff."
Diviners Gin can be purchased through their website.