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Cape Byron Distillery

Home > Brisbane > Distilleries | Escape the City | Farms | Nature | Tours
by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published March 31st 2022
Enjoy gin & tonics, spirits & cocktails in a rainforest farm
Located in a shed overlooking a restored rainforest and a plantation, the Cape Byron Distillery is one of the destinations to visit in the Byron Bay region. Currently, you need to book a tour for a tasting to visit, but well worth making an appointment for the experience of gin & tonics or cocktails overlooking the rainforest.

Gin, tonic & finger limes at Cape Byron Distillery
Gin, tonic & finger limes at Cape Byron Distillery


About

The story starts when the owners, Pam and Martin Brook bought what was a run-down dairy farm in the late 1980s with a vision to restore the land. They planted 35,000 subtropical rainforest trees, and these plants go on to be a big part of the flavours used in making the gins when the distillery was established.

Enjoy your drinks with views of the farm & restored rainforest
Enjoy your drinks with views of the farm & restored rainforest


Eddie Brook, who grew up on the farm teamed up with multi award-winning distiller Jim McEwan who has over 50 years of experience in the distilling industry. Inspired by the landscape Jim explored the area, trying many of the plants growing on the farm in search of unique and special flavours. Yes, he did get sick from eating some of the things he found, but things that were good and healthy only ended up in the gin.

Walking in the restored rainforest at Cape Byron Distillery
Walking in the restored rainforest at Cape Byron Distillery


The distillery is definitely a boutique one and is located in basically a big shed where they make their spirits, and it also houses a bar where they make the cocktails and has a back deck on which to enjoy them. They have stepped lightly on the land, not only bringing back the rainforest but also local animals as well.

A sleepy koala at Cape Byron Distillery
A sleepy koala at Cape Byron Distillery


Visiting & Tours

Unfortunately, you can't just pop into the distillery, but it is easy enough to join one of the events. These include Distillery & Rainforest Tours, Guided Tasting Sessions and Cocktail sessions. These are usually scheduled on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and you will be joining other people in each of these sessions unless you book for your own larger group.

Learn about the history of the distillery from your friendly Cape Byron Distillery tour guide
Learn about the history of the distillery from your friendly Cape Byron Distillery tour guide


To arrange the group bookings, I am not sure how many people would be a minimum, but contact them through their webpage or call them to discuss this further. It is a great way to spend an afternoon with your friends or even colleagues for corporate events.

Learning about the farming practices & processes at Cape Byron Distillery
Learning about the farming practices & processes at Cape Byron Distillery


The distillery tours will teach you about the history of the farm and the distillery. You will learn about how they restored the rainforest on the farm, and how they team up with Jim McEwan to create locally flavoured spirits so that you can enjoy a drink that truly tastes of the rainforest.

Learning about the distilling process at Cape Byron Distillery
Learning about the distilling process at Cape Byron Distillery


You will also get a chance to taste and learn about the various qualities of their gins and other spirits. After all, these are distillers who deeply care about the products they are producing.

You will get to taste a range of the spirits at Cape Byron Distillery
You will get to taste a range of the spirits at Cape Byron Distillery


You can also focus on tastings or cocktails. While I like cocktails, I also enjoy the opportunity to taste the spirits on their own, and of course, gin & tonics pair perfectly with a rainforest setting, with our without lemon myrtle and finger limes.

Cocktail & tasting tours are always popular at Cape Byron Distillery
Cocktail & tasting tours are always popular at Cape Byron Distillery


Getting there

Obviously, you can drive there and they have discount tickets for the non-drinking driver. However there is only limited parking at the venue, so it is possible and encouraged to take a taxi or Uber from Byron Bay. Though some people have complained about Ubers cancelling at the last minute because of the distance. No harm in arriving a little early.

If you don't want to drive, there are tours that stop off at Cape Byron Distillery
If you don't want to drive, there are tours that stop off at Cape Byron Distillery


You can also look into tours that stop at Cape Byron Distillery. One company that routinely stops there, among other places, is Kiff & Culture Bus Tours.

Overall

What you have with Cape Byron Distillery is a unique distillery experience. You can't beat the location and vibe, and learning about both the farm and the distilling process goes beyond what others do. If you are going to visit one distillery in this area, this is the one to go to.
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Why? Enjoy gin & tonics, spirits & cocktails in a rainforest farm
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday by appointment
Phone: (02) 6684 7961
Where: 80 St Helena Rd, McLeods Shoot NSW 2479
Cost: From $15 to $40
Your Comment
Very interesting and informative article Roy. Tours through any manufacturing operation are always educational. I would volunteer for the bus driving job.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4054) 51 days ago
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