Gareth Andrews has been making craft beers at the Steam Exchange for over ten years with great success, but he holds the belief that new projects keep the mind fresh. And so he decided to make whiskey. Consequently the Steam Exchange became Australia's first Brewery to be granted permission to run a distillery in the same building.
The Scots spell it whisky and the Irish spell it whiskey
Whiskey, however, takes a long time to mature, and Whiskey distilleries need cashflow. I had an 'Ah-ha' moment as Gareth explained why Gin is so popular in Australia just lately: It can be made in a day and keeps the cashflow going while the whiskey matures. So everyone is making Gin while they wait for the Whiskey.
In keeping with Cittaslow values, most of the botanicals Gareth uses in his Gin are locally sourced. There are native pepper berries, samphire, lemon grass and whole lemons, to name a few. One of the main and possibly most traditional botanicals, the Juniper berry, grows only in colder climates and must be sourced from England.
The result is an aromatic brew that tastes slightly sweet, slightly citrus and it goes down a treat. FeverTree tonic is Gareth's choice of mixer and it comes in three varieties; light, mediterranean and Indian. I drank mine with Indian style tonic water and a wedge of lime.
The Gin has been christened 'G-Town Gin' after it's place of origin - Goolwa. The label was designed in a rush to meet Christmas holiday demand and depicts two small boys standing in front of a half moon. Well that's Gareth's story.
He has just made his third batch of 43% proof Gin. It can be bought in half litre bottles or by the glass. And when you drop in to the Steam Exchange Brewery on the wharf at Goolwa, you can sit on the deck and enjoy the river views while you sip on a glass or two.
While you are there you might like to try a local wine from Langhorne Creek or coffee from De Groot Coffee Co. Even the milk is local. You see Goolwa became Australia's first Cittaslow (Slow Town), in 2007 and, like many other local businesses, The Steam Exchange supports the Cittaslow principle of using local produce and products. So now we can enjoy locally crafted Gin and Whiskey, as well as local Beer, in Goolwa.