Home is where the heart is for Melbourne distillers Four Pillars Gin, who recently opened their own distillery door in the heart of the Yarra Valley.
Formerly taking up a small space at Rob Dolan’s winery in South Warrandyte for a good 18 months, business partners Cameron Mackenzie, Stuart Gregor and Matt Jones found Four Pillars’ new and first official home in an old timber yard in Healesville.
Gregor says the distillery door is an exciting new step, one that will help the Four Pillars brand to grow.
The Four Pillars distillery currently holds two giant copper stills, the original named Wilma, and the newest addition Jude.
“Wilma was named after Cameron’s Mother, and Jude is named after my Mother. My Mum is the biggest drinker so she has the largest still,” Gregor jokes.
The stills are manufactured in Stuttgart, Germany by distilling equipment company Carl. Operating for more than 150 years, Gregor says a lot of research went into finding the best in the business.
“We put in an enormous amount of long, arduous and hard yards trying to find out who made the best stills in the world, and we think they do. We have two of them now, so we have the capacity to make quite a lot of gin!”
Capacity has more than doubled with the addition of Jude, meaning Four Pillars can make upwards of 100,000 bottles of gin a year.
Gregor says they’ll be getting another much smaller still soon, a 30 Litre pocket rocket named Eileen, after third partner Matt’s Mother. Apparently the real Eileen isn’t a drinker, so her smaller frame only makes up to 40 bottles at a time.
“We’ll use Eileen to maybe make something for a particular bar, or something for a group of visitors, that’s what we’re trying to do at the moment,” says Gregor.
The trio always wanted to base themselves in the Yarra Valley; as the area is slowly opening up to alternative options for those that don’t know their pinot noir from their pinot gris.
“We’re very keen to become part of that whole Yarra Valley community,” he says.
“There are so many good wineries and restaurants in the Yarra, and it’s beginning to round out now, with a few good breweries popping up, and now there’s also an awesome distillery.”
The new location offers visitors to the Yarra Valley a point of difference; something this new brand seems to have a knack for.
The first batch of Four Pillars gin was sold in December 2013 through a crowd funding campaign, at this time more than 90 per cent of gin consumed in Australia was imported.
Coming into the market at a time when the public were big on craft beers and boutique breweries, Four Pillars offered gin lovers this kind of local, artisan experience in spirit form.
In their short time on the shelf, this world-class spirit has gone on to win a number accolades both here and internationally, showing a healthy appreciation and demand for craft spirits in the Australian market.
“We’re very lucky, we’ve had a lot of success in a short period of time, we’re very thankful for that.
We were never certain whether that would happen, but it’s been terrific to get where we are, and now we just have to keep going with it – we’ve got to keep doing things better and making better gin,” says Gregor.
Next time you’re in the Yarra Valley, swing into Four Pillars on the corner of Maroondah Highway and Lilydale Road, say hi to Wilma and Jude, and stick around for one of the best G&Ts you’ve ever had.
2A Old Lilydale Rd,
Healesville VIC 3777
0450 674 681