Drinks

Mike Ben­nie has noth­ing but praise for the many in­no­va­tive Aus­tralian brew­ers, dis­tillers and fer­menters hon­ing their craft.

delicious - - CONTENTS -

Mike Ben­nie cel­e­brates the drink scene’s home­grown heroes.

AMONG THOSE CEL­E­BRATED by the de­li­cious. Pro­duce Awards are the best ar­ti­san dis­tillers, brew­ers and fer­menters cre­at­ing drinks that speak loudly of Aus­tralia’s in­creas­ingly thrilling cul­ture of beers, ciders and all things spir­i­tu­ous.

It’s an ex­cit­ing time for drinks of all va­ri­eties in this land. Ex­plor­ing our cul­tural iden­tity through na­tive in­gre­di­ents and the der­ring-do of lo­cal pro­duc­ers to rein­ter­pret clas­sics has been seis­mic in the home­grown drinks in­dus­try.

Gin, for ex­am­ple, has seen some 40-odd dis­til­leries ex­plode to 400-plus, many shin­ing a light on lo­cal botan­i­cals such as pep­per­berry, lemon myr­tle and river mint.

All-Aus­tralian Ne­groni cock­tails were a pipe dream un­til re­cently. Now, with a mul­ti­tude of high-qual­ity ver­mouth, we’re closer to per­fect­ing our ver­sion.

Along with in­no­va­tion is Aus­tralia’s grow­ing num­ber of pad­dock-to-bot­tle dis­tillers. While amounts are small, they are sig­nif­i­cant for an emerg­ing dis­till­ing cul­ture, and sub­stan­tial com­pared to world­wide. A pre­vi­ous win­ner of the ‘In The Bot­tle’ award, Bel­grove, is con­sid­ered one of the world’s lead­ing pad­dock-to-bot­tle ad­vo­cates. Quite the achieve­ment.

Beer is no slouch ei­ther. The num­ber of in­de­pen­dent brew­eries in Aus­tralia is now stag­ger­ing. Brew­ers are ex­per­i­ment­ing, or hon­ing-in on sin­gu­lar styles. Wild fer­mented and sour beers, a fo­cus on lo­cal grain, an in­crease in sourc­ing or­ganic prod­uct, and us­ing lo­cal fruits and botan­i­cals in one-off brews have all made Aus­tralian brew­ing come alive.

Cider is fol­low­ing suit. A small shift to ‘proper cider ap­ples’ is be­gin­ning to res­onate with drinkers and brew­ers alike. Look­ing at the re­sources in places like Tas­ma­nia, there’s a bright fu­ture for such ar­ti­sanal pro­duc­tion.

With a rich vein of hand­crafted, con­sid­ered drinks now on hand for us to en­joy, we’re in­creas­ingly spoiled for choice in Aus­tralia. Ku­dos to those in the mix.

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