Cape Byron Distillery, located in the Byron Bay region is the home of Brookie’s gin. We had the pleasure of visiting the distillery and were thrilled to hear that it has been officially accredited with B Corp certification. They have been acknowledged for their environmental and community-focused sustainable approach across a number of areas. It is is one of only two spirit distillers in Australia to achieve this status.
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As a background, husband and wife team Martin and Pamela Brooks, the owners, purchased a large piece of land in the Byron Bay Hinterland back in 1988.
At this time, the property was riddled with Captor Laurel, an introduced plant species with pest status.
The Brooks family discovered that the property was once a sub-tropical rainforest and sought to clear the weeds and Captor Laurel. Following this, they planted Eucalypt and macadamia, which are are rainforest trees native to Australia.
The property now also has Davidson plum, as well as a number of native botanical trees and shrubs. After 33 years of regeneration, the property is now a sub tropical oasis and a luscious rainforest. This inspired the Brooks family to produce Brookie’s native botanical gin and a number of other products.
In terms of development, Martin and Pamela’s son Eddie was working for a high end drinks distributor and happened to spark up a conversation with the cask whisperer Jim Mcewan, a distiller famous for his input at Bowmore and Bruichladdie whisky distilleries. Eddie explained the rainforest regeneration and native botanicals on the property and from there the Brooks family Distillery was born.
Their still which distills their gin was made by an Australian engineer and is based on a traditional Scottish pot still. The still, affectionately known as George, has a 2000 litre capacity and is named after Martin’s father who was ironically a copper.
Brookie’s gin has developed over time. They use Davidson plums, which is quite tart to begin with, it sits in the gin for 6 – 9 months, resulting in a raisin profile. The plums are then turned into their Davidson Plum jam and what is left is turned into compost. Other ingredients include Cinnamon myrtle, aniseed myrtle, the Lillipi which gives a peppery flavour, and they also use ryeberry and ginger. The only non native ingredients are coriander and juniper Berry.
It is great to see a business that is sustainable and prides itself on looking after the environment. The Brooks family use natural means of controlling pests, for example wasps to control nut borers and owls to control rats.
They also collaborate with other businesses to help encourage sustainability. They send much of the by product to The Farm in Byron Bay, to feed the animals. The Farm is also innovative with a paddock to plate ethos and they explore sustainable farming practice, a beautiful location nearby also worth checking out.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Brookies Distillery, it is beautifully scenic and the tour was very insightful. We undertook a gin tasting; trying their native gin, and other favourites of ours – the Slow Gin (using the Davidson Plum) and also the Macadamia Liqueur.
After this, we were also introduced to their new Cumquat gin called “Shirl the Pearl” after Eddie’s grandmother. Interestingly she was a go getter, one of the first female tiger moth pilots. We were lucky to also try their single malt whisky, available in August. Be sure to get on their mailing list to be notified.
This experience enabled us to see how their products were developed, giving us extra appreciation and enjoyment when we sip on the products.
If you’re able to make a visit, they offer unique experiences such as the Distillery & Rainforest Tours, Guided Tasting Sessions & Cocktail sessions. When you’re there, you can also buy bottles of the products in an array of sizes, as well as a mighty fine cocktail from the bar.
Hope you enjoy!
Thewhereto were hosted by the Cape Byron Distillery and Brooks family.