We don’t know about you, but every time we open up a newspaper… we need a stiff drink. Luckily, our great state is home to some stand-out spirits. Here are just a few of our favourites to ease the news cycle.
Whipper Snapper Distillery
Founded with the help of a WWII vet and his backyard moonshine, Whipper Snapper have gone on to create one of Australia’s finest premium whiskeys. Crafted with 100% WA ingredients, starting with corn, barley and wheat grains for their Upshot whiskey, to Australia’s first commercially grown quinoa from Narrogin for their Project Q Quinoa Whiskey, these guys are committed to the craft. Feeling adventurous? Try the Crazy Uncle Moonshine, the first legal moonshine in Australia, or Jetpack Hard Coffee, a coffee and whiskey hybrid made with local roasters Timely.
139 Kensington Street, East Perth
Republic Of Fremantle
Republic of Fremantle are not into taking shortcuts. After its long awaited opening, the Fremantle distillery is finally up and running, and doing things their own way. Creating their own spirit using Swan Valley verdelho grapes, they currently have a vodka and two gin styles on offer. The Full Bodied Gin is classically dry with bold flavours of pink peppercorn, cranberry, cinnamon, clove, figs and rosemary, while the Aromatic has a more zesty, fresh tones of citrus, peach and honeyed ginger. When it comes to their Signature Vodka, expect a double distilled, silky smooth and clean character, with notes of citrus and melon.
3 Pakenham Street, Fremantle
Baysie locals will be familiar with fellow locals Alligator Labs, who make small batch spirits and liqueurs from Aussie-grown fruit – and reduce food waste along the way! Every Saturday morning they open up their cellar door from 10 to 3, so you can grab some of their goodies in person.
4/70 Clavering Road, Bayswater
Part of the Raintree Estate – a diverse agri-business and potentially home to WA’s first cannabis health retreat – Cannabis Botanical uses whole plants in their fermentation and distillation process, using byproduct to regenerate the soil or feed the resident herd of cattle. Alongside herbal sativa gin and vanilla-noted vodka, summers mean indulging in Cannabis Botanical’s refreshing seltzers or ginger beer.
The Dam, Lot 305, Wentworth Road, Ocean Beach, Denmark
Everyone’s favourite forward, Josh Kennedy has also been working hard since his West Coast retirement, launching boutique distillery Beyond Distilling with former teammate Chris Masten. Working alongside winemaker and distiller Greg Garnish, Beyond’s inaugural spirit is the aptly named x17. The gin not only references JK’s playing number, but utilises 17 botanicals from his Mid West home, with notes of sea celery, pink grapefruit, Geraldton wax, salt bush and verticordia. Since then, they’ve expanded the range to also include Super Tuscan – packed with Tuscan juniper – and the G&T-ready Citrus Bomb.
Rottnest Island Gin
Most Perth-dwellers have a fond memory or two of summers on Wadjemup, taking in the salty air and the native botanicals of the island. Don’t you wish you could bottle that up? Well, the same thought occurred to Wine Thief owners Damian and Nicole, and voila! Rottnest Island Gin was born. The signature botanical note captures the spirit of Rottnest through the Rottnest Island daisy, and a portion of the profits go towards vegetation rehabilitation programs on the island.
Available at The Wine Thief, 69 McCourt Street, West Leederville
A chance discovery of a distilling licence, a grandfather’s 100-year-old aquavit recipe, and a love of gin and tonics: the magic ingredients that led founders and hoteliers Kate and Mark to create Sin Gin in 2017. Starting as a nano distillery in West Perth’s Murray Hotel, their popularity has necessitated a move to larger premises in the Swan Valley. The Seven Deadly Sins series is their flagship range, created with a combination of botanicals that evoke each sin. Think coriander, stinging nettles, devils claw and skullcap forming the bold flavours of Wrath, or the truly Envy-inspiring range of Australian native botanicals: mountain pepper berries, wattle seed, aniseed myrtle, lemon myrtle, peppermint gum and quandong.
124 Lennard Street, Herne Hill
Illegal Tender Rum Co.
We’ll admit we’re stretching the boundaries of what constitutes “Perth” a little this piece, but when the distilleries as good as Illegal Tender Rum Co., who could blame us? This multi international award winning rum distillery is based up in Dongara on the Coral Coast and was founded by Master Distiller Codie Palmer. Palmer basically dropped everything to pursue a passion for distilling, and you can taste it in every mouthwatering drop. Made from ferment to bottle, you’ll truly believe man can turn rain water into rum on a tour of the distillery, otherwise pick up a bottle from any self-respecting bottle shop around WA and try it yourself.
35 Illyarrie Road, Springfield
The West Winds Distillery
You can hardly step foot in a Perth bar without spying a bottle of West Winds gin, and it’s no wonder: inspired by the salty, ocean breezes that are iconic to our state, West Winds’ range of gins have become some of Australia’s most highly awarded. Check out the Sabre for their take on a classic London Dry style that utilises lemon myrtle and wattle seed; an Australian twist that pairs only too well with the fresh, citrus flavours of a G&T. More of a savoury palate? The Cutlass combines cinnamon myrtle and native bush tomato for a truly unique, complex flavour. Really want to immerse yourself in West Winds’ delicious offerings? January saw the opening of their “Discover Centre” in Cowaramup, which serves as the brand’s distillery, production facility, cellar door and restaurant.
29 Hasluck Street, Cowaramup
Old Young’s certainly know how to make a splash – whether it’s their audacious manifesto (“don’t be sh*t”), bevy of awards or their bold flavours. Based in the Swan Valley, the distillery has a steadfast commitment to high quality ingredients, and innovation: perhaps most effectively demonstrated via Juniper Society, their gin subscription born out of the pandemic. While each month’s flavour is a surprise, past highlights have included Lilly Pilly Old Tom, Cider, Christmas Tree and VB.
10581C West Swan Road, Henley Brook
Luxe accomodation and winery Ampersand Estates is also home to Australia’s only single harvest distillery, Rainfall Distillery, specialising in vodka and gin distilled in a single region and year – just like wines. Surrounded by ancient karri forests and the rushing water of the Donnelly River, the distillery partners with farmers in the region to produce a stunning range of limited edition spirits to complement their classic rainwater-infused vodka – think honey roasted macadamia vodka, scarlet bottlebrush or Southern Forest cherry-infused gin.
Ampersand Estates, 9883 Vasse Highway, Peerabeelup
Running with Thieves
Life’s a funny old thing, ain’t it? You have all these grand plans to launch your brand new venue, with a restaurant, brewery and distillery, and then… well, 2020. After a brief stint pivoting to producing hand sanitiser, November of 2020 saw Running With Thieves finally able to open, for real. As well as a micro-brewery, the space also contains a distillery producing both gin and vodka varieties, plus a retail outlet for you to take all those goodies home. The Vodka 001 is triple distilled, and has a crisp base with notes of soft, grainy wheat, while the distillery’s gin comes in three styles depending on your preferences – Botanical, London Dry and Citrus. (And just take it from us, those watermelon and wild mint seltzers… They go down a treat.)
218 Marine Terrace, South Fremantle
Spirit of Little Things
This leafy urban oasis is home to the aptly-named Spirit of Little Things. Tucked away next to Daglish Station, the distillery and bar has become a fast favourite since opening back in 2021 and specialises in gins that capture the essence of our sunburnt country – packed with hand-picked, locally sourced botanicals.
205A Railway Road, Subiaco
Itty-bitty, family-run operation Wandering Distillery may be pint-sized, but it’s nevertheless made a big impact. Initially established in the Mornington Peninsula, the family relocated back to Perth in 2019, and have been putting in the hard yakka ever since, constantly popping up at local stockists and eager to give you a taste. Our pick is the Odyssey; a gin that represents the distillery’s journey thus far, with a balance of nine botanicals that include finger lime, lemon myrtle, hemp and rosemary.
Unit 4, 50 Ladner Street, O’Connor
Great Southern Distilling Co. & Margaret River Distilling Co.
To skip over Cameron Syme’s behemoth distilling operation would be an oversight, to say the least. Establishing the state’s first legal distillery is no mean feat, and the master distiller certainly hasn’t sat on his laurels since then. With distilleries now in Margaret River, Albany and Porongorup (plus the newest addition, Limeburners & Giniversity in the Swan Valley), the combined forces of the Great Southern and Margaret River Distilling Co’s have created some heavy hitting, not to mention highly awarded, spirits that include Limeburners, Tiger Snake and Dugite whiskeys, as well as Giniversity gin. Internationally recognised as some of the best in the world, these are more than worth the drive down south.
252 Frenchman Bay Road, Albany
Cnr Carters and Bussell Hwy, Margaret River
45 Hyem Road, Herne Hill
Banks and Bloom
In only their first year of operation, Banks and Bloom Distillery + Lab have taken home a prestigious Double Gold at the 2023 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, winning for their Ice Vodka. The winning vodka is distilled using a unique cold vacuum technique, infusing it with a delicate combination of botanicals including blood lime, saltbush and samphire.
Header image credit: Republic of Fremantle