By Andrew Spence – The Lead
The spirit of Kangaroo Island has been bottled, shared and loved by the nation.
Kangaroo Island Spirits‘ ‘Old Tom Gin’, flavoured with native plants and distilled in the wilds of Kangaroo Island, received the Champion Gin Trophy at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards for its ‘Old Tom Gin’ in Melbourne last night (Thursday, 21 April 2016).
The accolade was handed out by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria.
‘Old Tom Gin’ has a distinctly Australian flavour, enhanced by the inclusion of foliage from the coastal Daisy bush (olearia axillaris), native Juniper (myoporum insulare) and locally grown Lemon Myrtle and Aniseed myrtle.
Kangaroo Island Spirits owners, Jon and Sarah Lark, have been distilling at Cygnet River, near Kingscote, for more than a decade.
“We like to think Old Tom represents the unique attributes of the place it stems from and reflects the personalities of Kangaroo Islanders – wild, fun, sensitive, rural, ecological, old, new, caring, special, true to their history and, above all, great value,” Jon says.
Although most of the distillery’s significant sales are through the cellar door, wholesale is rapidly expanding with a great deal of interest from high-end bars, restaurants and independent bottle shops across Australia.
Jon adds they have also received international inquiries from the United States, United Kingdom and Asia.
“I’d particularly like to go into Spain because Spain consumes more gin than the UK but a lot of people don’t realise that and certainly Asia makes a lot of sense from here as well,” he says.
“We’ve been here 10 years and we’re going from strength to strength and this award is going to help us no end in getting to that next stage.”