By Kaia Wallis
Bold choices and courageous actions are the foundation of South Australian based distillers Never Never Distilling Co, says co-founder Sean Baxter.
Sean – Never Never’s brand director and self-confessed ‘juniper freak’ – says the distillery has built its brand, flavours and design on a thirst for adventure.
That yearning for exploration will soon take Never Never to one of SA’s renowned wine regions, McLaren Vale, where Sean says plans have been finalised to build a distillery and cellar door that will significantly increase production capabilities.
“It’s a very special thing to be situated right in the heart of McLaren Vale. We’re very lucky to have secured the site we have, it’s an incredible location,” he says.
The new venture was the recipient of a $400,000 State Government Regional Development Fund grant earlier this year and will help Never Never expand its operations at the Chalk Hill Wines site in McLaren Vale, a partnership sure to have intriguing results.
Sean is confident that the collaboration between the winery and distillery will see Never Never take its place on the tourist trail and says the spirit distillers plan to take full advantage of the region’s local produce.
“Once we move, we’ll be looking quite closely at the way we produce to make sure we’re utilising lots of local products that are available to us down there,” he says.
Initially, Never Never was based in Royal Park and shared a space with Big Shed Brewing Concern – a partnership Sean and the team are grateful for.
“We wouldn’t be a brand today without the impact Big Shed had on our initial production, it’s been great to work alongside those guys,” he says.
Although Sean hasn’t always called SA home – the gin lover was born in Queensland – he commends the local brewing and distilling communities, as well as the support provided by local consumers.
“Being from interstate, it’s been really interesting to see the way South Australians purchase locally, the way they support local businesses and are fiercely protective of their various wine regions,” he says.
“It’s incredibly inspiring to see how passionate South Australians are when it comes to supporting local business.”
Sean co-founded Never Never Distilling Co in 2016 with managing director and ‘spirit creature’ George Georgiadis and head of production and ‘guerrilla distiller’ Tim Boast.
The three were brought together through a mutual love of gin and risk taking, something that Sean says has gone on to affect every aspect of the brand.
“We strive to be fearless in everything we do, so we made a lot of decisions that were quite different when we started,” he says.
“We took design risks and now have some pretty unique labelling thanks to local artist Carlo Jensen of Peculiar Familia. Now, people understand what we’re about – which is a big juniper forward, delicious gin.”
The bold decisions haven’t gone unnoticed – just this year the distillery took home a gold medal in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition as well as the International SIP Awards and The Spirits Businesses Gin Masters awards.
“We celebrated hard when we won gold in San Francisco, it was pretty much the ultimate,” Sean says.
The spirit distillers also ranked seventh in the 2018 Global Trending Gin list for Drinks International, a competition that ranks gin by polling bartenders from fifty bars worldwide.
“Bartenders are often the hardest to please when it comes to what they pour, so to be seventh and the only Australian gin on that list was pretty amazing,” Sean says.
While you wait for the opening of Never Never Distilling Co in McLaren Vale – you can find the award-winning gin on Shop South Australia.
Header image by Ryan Noreiks.
Shop South Australia is home to a unique collection of over 300 South Australian gifts and goods from more than 70 local makers and producers. Choose local and Shop South Australia.