Gin win

Dis­tillery among na­tion’s best

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page - Jenne Bram­mer Award-win­ning SouWester Spir­its gin cre­ator Danielle Cost­ley is one of a hand­ful of women spirit mak­ers in Aus­tralia.

SouWester Spir­its may be the new kid on the block in terms of WA gin brands, but the Mar­garet River busi­ness is al­ready gain­ing na­tional recog­ni­tion.

The busi­ness is also un­usual in that it is one of a hand­ful of spirit mak­ers — of sev­eral hun­dred in Aus­tralia — run by a woman.

SouWester Spir­its was formed by food and wine jour­nal­ist Danielle Cost­ley as an ar­ti­san dis­tillery fo­cus­ing on prove­nance and lo­cal botan­i­cals.

The first lim­ited edi­tion 300-bot­tle gin range was launched in Jan­uary and the next is due within months.

Last month, SouWester won a bronze medal at the Tast­ing Aus­tralia Spir­its Awards, in­volv­ing more than 60 of Aus­tralia’s finest dis­tillers.

The idea to cre­ate a gin fo­cus­ing on lo­cal prove­nance came when Ms Cost­ley was study­ing wine­mak­ing in Mar­garet River, and work­ing as a wine jour­nal­ist.

“I was re­search­ing Fraser Gal­lop’s ice-pressed chardon­nay and think­ing about mak­ing a gin and whisky aged in those bar­rels to pay homage to the Mar­garet River wine re­gion,” she said.

Ms Cost­ley dis­cov­ered na­tive fin­ger limes and Old­man Salt­bush botan­i­cals when writ­ing her book Be­yond the Farm Gate, and was keen to ex­per­i­ment. “The busi­ness evolved from there — cre­at­ing a prod­uct with lo­cally sourced botan­i­cals, dis­tilled with lo­cal rainwater, aged in the re­gion’s wine bar­rels to im­part a flavour of the lo­cal grapes and then ma­tur­ing them in a bar­rel on the coast in Prev­elly,” she said.

SouWester has no am­bi­tions to be­come a large-scale pro­ducer.

Rather, Ms Cost­ley plans to con­tinue pro­duc­ing pre­mium spir­its in small batches.

“I will re­main an ar­ti­san pro­ducer and my small batches will be dic­tated by the bar­rels I source from the Mar­garet River wine re­gion and when lo­cal botan­i­cals are in sea­son,” she said.

Ms Cost­ley plans to launch her first sin­gle malt whisky in April, fol­lowed by one whisky each year, as well as grow­ing the gin and liqueur range.

The busi­ness evolved from there — cre­at­ing a prod­uct with lo­cally sourced botan­i­cals, dis­tilled with lo­cal rainwater, aged in the re­gion’s wine bar­rels. Danielle Cost­ley

Pic­ture: Re­becca Mansell

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