Distillery among nation’s best
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