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The rise of distilleries on the Gold Coast

Craig Tansley | April 13, 2022

Gold Coasters were a little late to the distillery revolution, but they’re making up for lost time with more distilleries opening up on the Gold Coast every year.

We look at the best distilleries on the Gold Coast and discuss the industry’s growth with pioneer James Greig…

Wildflower Gin

2/486 Scottsdale Dr, Varsity Lakes

Wildflower Gin is one of the Gold Coast’s largest gin and vodka producers – within a few months of opening operations, they were winning major awards for their signature gin, flavoured by owner James Greig’s own bees. Opening the week before Covid hit, they’ve managed to turn the company into a local success story, and have opened an intimate gin bar in Varsity Lakes. Founder James Greig tells us more…

Do you think distilleries are the next big trend for the Gold Coast market?

What we’ll see is more micro-distilleries opening up who sell through their cellar door. Selling gin through bottle shops is incredibly competitive these days. But there’ll definitely be more micro-distilleries opening up here.

A group of people standing around a car with a dog.
The team from Wild Flower Gin produce award-winning gin using local bees.

How significant is the Gold Coast region in the Australian distillery scene?

We weren’t on the map with the likes of Hobart and Adelaide Hills, but it’s changing fast. That’s why we’re pro-progress when it comes to other distilleries opening up, we want people to come to the Gold Coast as a distillery destination and travel between the distilleries. They do it now with craft beer up here, it’ll happen.

What makes your gin and vodka stand out from the rest?

The main reason is the backstory: one of my hobbies was bee-keeping and I had a friend who knew about distilling. We combined honey from my backyard and made a great gin and that kick-started everything. The other reason is we launched the week before Covid hit. We ended up making hand sanitiser instead and the community was aware of us overnight. When we launched our gin we sold out straight away.

Do Gold Coasters appreciate fine gin and vodka?

I think so, Australian gin is still only 12% of the gin in Australia, but it’s changing fast. We pay a lot of excise so the big international companies can charge much less for their bottles and we can’t do that. But locals appreciate the quality of local gin.

Panezski Artisan Distillery

1/28 Activity Crescent, Molendinar

For your chance to check out a bit of Poland on the Gold Coast, come cocktail tasting at the Coast’s newest dedicated vodka distillery at Molendinar. There’s a 1920’s style tasting room on-site to sample three types of locally-made vodka using traditional Polish methods that’s smoother and creamier than your average vodka.

Capricorn Distilling Co

21 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads

Located close to Burleigh Brewing and Wildflower Distilling in Burleigh Heads in a chic industrial bar setting, Capricorn Distilling Co is open every Friday to Sunday, with free tours (and free tastings). Check out the rum that won World’s Best Spiced Rum at the London World Rum Awards of 2020.

Woodchoppers Inn

64 Railway St, Mudgeeraba

Since 1995, Woodchoppers Inn has been the place to go. Set in a classic Queenslander with 12 taps of craft beer in the heart of Mudgeeraba. Now they’ve added an in-house distillery called Against The Grain Distillery making their own gin, whiskey and vodka giving you even more reason to drop by for barbeque, beer and moonshine.

A gin bottle with glasses
Against The Grain Distillery in Woodchoppers Inn

Clovendoe Distilling Co

21 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads 

Clovendoe Distilling Company have been trailblazers in distilling on the Gold Coast. They’re one of the first female-owned and operated distilling company in the world, and they’re also innovators for the low and no-alcohol movement. They specialise in alcohol-free distilling.

If you are interested in alcohol-free beer, check out local product Sobah.

A woman working in a distillery
Clovendoe Distillery are innovators of low and no alcohol distilling.

Coastal Moon Distillery

The latest, greatest small batch distillery has just opened on the Gold Coast, made by three life-long local mates who got together to launch a product unique to the Gold Coast. While there’s no tasting room open yet, you can order a vodka from their Zodiac Vodka range, choosing a vodka that suits your star sign. Stay tuned for their single-malt whiskey, it’s fermenting right now.

Granddad Jacks

45 Lemana Lane, Miami

It’s only a two minute walk from the beach – have a surf then check out the exposed brick and recycled timber in this former surfboard warehouse that’s now the coolest place to hang out in Miami. Brothers David and Luke Ridden use old family recipes to handcraft their spirits. Check out their cocktails, make your own gin or whiskey, or come tasting and touring.

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