A leading Australian beverage producer is aiming its craft spirits at a generation seemingly hell bent on following in the footsteps of their nannas.
Bickford’s Australia – better known for its range of premium cordials and syrups – has opened a distillery in Renmark, in the heart of South Australia’s Riverland.
The 23rd Street Distillery’s stable of craft spirits includes two brandies, a gin and a hybrid whisky. It is unashamedly targeting a new generation of drinkers searching for premium craft products.
“We’re being encouraged to be inventive and innovative… we hope to reignite brandy, give it a healthy dose of cool and engage consumers with a drink they thought was only for their nannas,” Head Distiller Graham Buller said.
“We are introducing new tastes and flavour combinations that particularly resonate with millennials.”
Even the name of one of the distillery’s modern brandy “Not Your Nanna’s” has potential buyers casting their minds back to a time when Grandma knitted in a rocking chair with a crocheted rug on her lap.
The former contestant on the ABC’s first series of The Great Australian Bake Off said hand crafted, premium products and providence were also important to young people.
“Because the world is becoming so mad, when people have down time they want to feel like they are having a hug from their nanna,” Bowley said.
“More and more we see people turning to these gentle skills of knitting, mulled wine, crochet and growing their own food and it taps into that.
“We’ve seen the rise of macramé and making your own jam and brandy is just another one of those – nanna skills are hot.”
Led by gin and whisky, Australia’s craft spirits industry is on the rise, following the boom of the craft beer movement.
However, in recent decades brandy has been regarded as an old-fashioned drink, resulting in a loss of market until a spike in interest overseas in cognac in the past couple of years.
Bickford’s Group Owner and Managing Director Angelo Kotses said the distillery was a chance for the company to become a craft spirit’s player.
“We looked at the international model where cognac all of a sudden became cool and consumption went up and markets such as Asia grew dramatically so it was an ideal time to look at that whole category again,” he said.
“Suddenly Renmark has become the centre of brandy in Australia and what we want to do is build the pie rather than take share from anyone else.”
The new distillery’s production will centre on three restored vintage copper pot stills with the capacity to produce around 1500 litres – or about 11 barrels – of matured spirit during each run.
It will also produce established Australian brands Black Bottle Brandy and Vickers Gin along side its Not Your Nanna’s brandy (AU $50), Prime 5 brandy (AU$80), Signature Gin (AU$80), Hybrid Whisk(e)y (AU$80) and Black Bottle VSAB (AU$70).
“We’ve got a couple of young distillers who are overseen by a master distiller and are really doing some amazing things,” Kotses said.
“Now is the time I think when experimentation is going to be great for what we do.
“We certainly want to make (brandy) more popular it’s just about how you do it and certainly some of the things these guys are coming up with are pretty cool.”
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