A NEW CHAPTER BE-GINS WITH THE OPENING OF EUMUNDI DISTILLERS
The Imperial Hotel Eumundi has opened the doors of the boutique Eumundi Distillers, launching their new Folktale Gin label. The distillery is the perfect complement to the well-established Eumundi Brewery.
The small-batch gins are crafted on-site at the hotel in a custom-built copper still (built in Griffith, NSW and installed in late 2020). Every bottle combines the finest traditional and local botanicals with a large dash of Eumundi quirk.
Head distiller Mick Reif lives and breathes the science of distilling, with the Imperial team referring to him as the resident ‘Gin-tellectual’. An environmental scientist with more than 20 years in conservation and land management, Mick has a keen interest in local botany – which will no doubt feature in upcoming batches.
Mick describes the aromatic combination of ingredients in the label’s signature Folktale Eumundi Gin, which has a 43% ABV:
“It’s a truly unique gin featuring the finest traditional ingredients including English juniper, English angelica root, coriander seed, lavender flower, cassia bark, cardamom and fresh citrus; combined with Australian native lemon and anise myrtles and pepperberry and local Cooroy Mountain spring water,” he says.
The second signature gin is the Folktale Navy Strength Eumundi Gin – bottled at 57.1% ABV, and sure to please both gin lovers and thirsty sailors!
“Combining fresh local ginger, limes and lemon myrtle, our Navy Strength Gin gives a real taste of Eumundi and the Sunshine Coast,” Mick says.
He describes the drop as a reminder of days when being paid in spirits meant you had to prove your worth.
“In the days when sailors’ pay included a daily ration of alcohol, high strength spirits were the drink of choice, and if sailors were suspicious that the captain was watering down the drink, they‘d call for 'proof',” says Mick.
“A drop of spirit was added to a small amount of gunpowder and lit with a match, and if the powder flared, the spirit was proved. If the captain had been adding water to the barrel, the powder would not burn.”
This is the origin of British Imperial proof and 100 proof is 57.1% ABV – hence Navy Strength.
In addition to the signature gins, the distilling team will also release a range of seasonal varieties – each with its own personality and delicate flavour profile. These will only be available at the Tasting Bar at The Imperial Hotel Eumundi.
“With concepts ranging from strawberry gin using fresh Eumundi fruit to a spicy Tom Yum gin made with local galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime, we’ll be constantly searching for new ways to create bespoke, small-batch gin,” Mick says.
Eumundi Distillers seek to support local farmers and growers wherever possible, ensuring the freshest produce is used and enabling them to produce truly unique Australian spirits.
And why Folktale Gin? What’s in the name?
“There truly are so many stories – or tales – told in Eumundi," Mick says. "Stories of timber town times and the legendary Dick Caplick, stories of hotel ghosts, stories of colourful artists and their adventures at Eumundi Markets, and lots of stories about brewing and now distilling too. It’s about folk – people – with a tale to tell, with stories to share.”
The beautiful Folktale Eumundi Gin bottle features the mystical Folktale Cat (a purrrfect fit for gin), with the distilling team sharing fabulous tales of “cats” selling gin in London back in the 18th Century to avoid fines for selling less than two gallons of gin under the Gin Act. Also, Eumundi Distillery is next to the Eumundi Brewery - and traditionally breweries always had cats to keep mice from the grain.
And then there’s the Folktale Fox, another mythical mystical character, staring out from the bottle of Folktale Navy Strength Eumundi Gin. He too has stories to tell!
Mick and the distilling team are genuinely excited by the results of their first batches of Folktale Gin. Looks like their botanical artistry and alchemy are destined to be a great fit with the wonderful mix of creatives that make up the community of Eumundi.