The weather in Melbourne last weekend was cold and miserable, but there was nothing but smiles at Meat Market for the inaugural Junipalooza Melbourne event!
After train delays, puddled sidewalks and general sombre moodiness that comes with bad weather, all was forgotten upon entry to a gin lovers’ dream come true.
Held over two days, Junipalooza Melbourne was a celebration of all things gin, and helped shine a light on local distillers that are making waves in the spirits industry.
Originally from London (naturally), Junipalooza was brought to Melbourne by its founders, Olivier and Emile Ward from The Gin Foundry, with the help of Australian gin maiden Caroline Childerley, also known as The Gin Queen.
We saw more than 25 local and international distilleries showcasing their products, and the best part? Many of the ginsmiths themselves were actually there to have a chat about their work – which was a great garnish for the day.
Now for the tasting! If you ever go to a spirit-tasting event, strap your boots on tight and be prepared – with regular gins sitting around the 40 per cent alcohol mark, and Navy or Distillers’ Strength hitting as high as the 60s, it’s safe to say you need to pace yourself, and then some.
Luckily the crew from Capi were there to keep guests hydrated, as well as stock each stall up with plenty of mixers for those sweet, sweet G&T’s.
While we couldn’t try all, we sure did our best and came away with a few new favourites, while sustaining our love for some old loves.
Hailing from Sydney, Archie Rose Distilling Co. are doing great things with their product, offering the classic dry gin with a twist in botanicals.
Their Signature Dry Gin was a medley of blood lime, lemon myrtle and pepperleaf with pronounced juniper, and their stall had scent sprays of each of the fourteen different botanicals used in their distilling process, including River Mint, which was divine.
At the end of the earth in New Zealand, Rogue Society are building their empire of smooth gin with a long floral finish. What we loved about these guys, as well as their gin was their bottle’s distinct presentation, which set it apart from the rest. Co-Founder Mark Neal said while most brands will buy pre-cast bottle designs and label them their own, The Rogue Society’s bottle was designed and patented by them.
Another favourite were Sydney scallywags, Poor Toms Gin. Their original spirit, the Sydney Dry Gin was like a floral punch in the mouth and we went back for more. Steeped in Australian wheat spirit, you could taste fresh notes of green apple and chamomile. We also love that they say their gin is perfect for a strong G&T and served with a strawberry. Sold.
Also it would be a crime not to mention one of our dear faves and front-runners in the Australian craft spirit game; Four Pillars. The guys from the Yarra Valley were in full swing at Junipalooza, with a constant line at their stall of gin lovers waiting for a taste. It’s great to see them receiving some well-earned success!
The overall vibe at Meat Market on the Saturday we attended was jovial, and not just because of the Navy Strength Gin. It was great to see a room full of people so passionate about their craft and so enthusiastic to have a chat about what they love and why.
Of all the Gin joints in all the towns in all the world, Junipalooza Melbourne was our favourite, and we hope to see it return next year!