Glen Gowrie Distillery is on a mission to put Glen Innes on the map by creating boutique, handcrafted spirits, while connecting farmers to consumers. Luckily, there are three generations on hand to do exactly that.

Born in the breathtakingly beautiful New England region of Glen Innes, Glen Gowrie Distillery was created in 2016 by David Scott and Susie Snodgrass. The pair have since been joined by their daughter Jo and, more recently, their grandson Jock. Together, the three generations have combined innovative scientific techniques with locally-sourced ingredients to produce a premium product every single time.

“It’s unique to have a regional-based business, that’s not a farming enterprise, with three generations working together,” says Jo. “Not only is it special, but it’s an incredibly fulfilling experience – we all have completely different skillsets too, so that works well.”

"Not only is it special, but it's an incredibly fulfilling experience - we all have completely different skillsets too, so that works well."

Jo, who started her career in the international agritourism industry, is the product and events manager for the distillery. David is head distiller and Jock the assistant distiller, lucky enough to soak up every second of his grandfather’s extensive experience.

“I have a science-based background in plant pathology and microbiology – but what that allows me to do is apply the best principles to ensure every product we create is beautiful,” says David.

“There are a lot of formulas and calculations in this role, figuring out the balance of botanicals and concentrations of certain ingredients, they’re the core skills I’m proud to be passing onto my grandson, Jock.”

From paddock to bottle

While arming the next generation with the knowledge needed to drive the business forward, Glen Gowrie Distillery is already taking giant leaps into the future.

“New trenches are being dug on the farm so we can expand the business in early 2022,” says Jo. “The plan is to build on our current tasting room offering by providing a large venue for events – it’s such a beautiful part of the world, we want to seize the opportunity to put Glen Innes on the map.”

“What we’ll ultimately end up with is a cutting-edge product and a beautiful venue,” adds David. “That’s a wonderful experience we can offer locals and visitors alike. And if people walk away with a couple of bottles of gin, to us that’s a bonus – ultimately we want to give people a lovely day out, while sharing our paddock to bottle story.”

And it’s a story worth hearing – Glen Gowrie Distillery’s driving philosophy is to connect farmers to consumers by sharing where all their ingredients are sourced and how the range of products are made.

“Provenance has always been very important to us, but it’s important to our customers too – that’s why we’re committed to supporting local and regional growers and continuing to make our grain-free spirit bases from scratch in small batches,” says Jo.

“We use Dorrigo Sebago potatoes for the base of our dry gins. We source lemons from Armidale, Glen Innes or Inverell, limes from Coramba, vanilla and cinnamon from our farmer friend George up in the Daintree. These ingredients form some of our key botanicals, alongside organic juniper of course.

“But it’s the process of turning a ‘waste’ product into something beautiful that we are truly proud of. Blueberries grown near Coffs Harbour, once destined for landfill due to not being the ‘right size’ for the supermarket punnets, are fermented on site to create a spirit base for our crowd favourite Blueberry Gin. I like to call them rescue berries. This gin is also zero waste, we even feed the remaining blueberry mash from the bottom of the fermentation vats to our chooks!”

Christmas wish list

If you haven’t already had the pleasure of tasting Glen Gowrie Distillery’s exquisite range of products, Christmas is the perfect time to treat yourself (or a loved one) to their range. The High-Country Gin Box and the Garden Gin Box are perfect, post-box ready gifts for the gin lover wanting to try a selection from the Glen Gowrie range.

Other equally-divine options include the newest release Oak and Whiskey Porter Beer Liqueur, the Choccy Milk Stout Liqueur or the new and exciting gin on the block, Hey June – a refined spirit with an elegant, smooth and earthy taste with hints of rosemary and lavender.

“Of course, the Blueberry Gin has been a bestseller since launch, and it also happens to be my personal favourite,” says David. “So you can’t go wrong.”

{words: Steph Wanlessphotography: Mike Terry}