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Capricorn Distilling Co. sets up shop in Burleigh Heads

Another fantastic distillery calls the Gold Coast home.

Capricorn Distillery entrance (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Capricorn Distillery entrance (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Suffice to say, the current trend of craft spirits and the brilliant distilleries behind them has been a long time coming here in Australia. And for us Gold Coasters to then have these great venues on our doorsteps, willing us to come on over and taste the spoils of their hard work is truly something special. Couple this with the already efficacious craft brewery scene that the Coast has gotten a serious reputation for, and we are some pampered people when it comes to choosing what to pour in our glasses.

Let’s just spare a moment to thank our days we never had to live through the prohibition!

Slipping into the craft spirits scene is Capricorn Distilling Co. in Burleigh Heads. And by slipping, we mean these guys are already established as an internationally awarded distillery, didn’t you know!

Formerly located in Rockhampton, Warren Brewer was the masterminds behind well-liked Saleyards Distillery, which he then decided to bring to the pristine shores of the Gold Coast. Seeking to expand production and to embrace a new lifestyle change, the Gold Coast seemed like the perfect spot to do both!

Capricorn Distillery Gins (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Capricorn Distillery Gins (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Under the newer name of Capricorn Distilling Co., the brand is still producing rums, liqueurs and now gins, under the same tried and tested recipes from the last few years. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, right? You can’t blame them for doing so either; as mentioned, in 2020 their signature spiced rum won the award for the world’s best-spiced rum at London’s prestigious ‘World Rum Awards’ spirits competition. Quite the accolade, especially from our British cousins who know their way around a drink or ten.

The selection of rums is sizeable, with differing styles for every taste, and a couple of specialist batches on the horizon, such as pineapple and coffee-infused lines — sure to prove popular! As well as rums — for which they are quite the experts — the distillery is also making an oak barrel-aged gin with great depth of character and a signature summer gin infused with 19 different botanicals, including lemon myrtle, native Australian finger lime and ruby grapefruit. All accompanied by their tonic of choice, Long Rays from Brisbane, rounding out an authentic Queensland drinking experience if ever we saw one.

The industrial location of the distillery is not too far from other Gold Coast standouts, Burleigh Brewing and Wildflower Distilling, creating the perfect chance for you to hop, skip and jump between the three. Settle into Capricorn, though, and you’ll find a light-filled and relaxed bar setting with the kind of atmosphere to enjoy the afternoon drift itself by and watch the shadows eventually grow longer.

Capricorn Distillery interior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Capricorn Distillery interior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Having been open for just a little while, the venue is currently welcoming parties for free tours — yep, you read that correctly. With big plans to increase their offering and new lines in the pipeline, we firmly suggest you add Capricorn to your already long list of new and exciting things to do on the Gold Coast this Autumn/Winter. And be sure to take a bottle or two home with you!

Where: 21 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads
Hours: Fri – Sun: 10am – 5pm

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Capricorn Distillery Summer Gin (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Capricorn Distillery Summer Gin (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

7 of the best Gold Coast* distilleries

Granddad Jacks (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
Granddad Jack's (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

As a bunch of discernible consumers of all alcoholic beverages, it was only a matter of time before the Gold Coast began to take heed and give us craft distilleries. Gin has, and still is, having a moment. Whisky has always grabbed a particular pocket of drinkers, and vodka is a staple that, although refreshing on its own, is an excellent base for many delicious cocktails we’ve come to love on the regular (espresso martini, anyone?).

Being one of Australia’s most innovative business start-up areas and having proximity to quality produce and botanicals from the South-East corner of Queensland and the Northern Rivers, our distilleries were always going to be a success no matter what shape or format they came in.

As there’s a sizeable collection for you to consider either buying from or visiting, we run down the distilleries we deem must-visits and precisely what they offer.

Granddad Jack’s
This multi-award-winning backstreet distillery has seen explosive success since opening its doors just three years ago. Aptly positioned in the now growing creative hub of Lemana Lane and surrounding streets, it’s a guaranteed good going-out spot. The portfolio of spirits is diverse, the atmosphere always on point, and the smiles forever beaming.
Offering: tasting room table bookings — distillery tour and tasting — private make your own gin class
Hours: Fri & Sat: 3pm – 9.30pm | Sun: 2pm – 6.15pm
Where: 45 Lemana Lane, Miami

Wildflower Gin Distillery (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
Wildflower Gin Distillery (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

Wildflower Gin Distilling
As if we need another motive to love the Burleigh Heads/Varisty Lakes area…. Wildflower Gin Distilling is just another reason we’ll add to an already long list. This industrial feel space creates what they describe to be, in their own words ‘Burleigh in a bottle’. Gins are the main attraction, but the team also turn their hands to vodka, with their recent Lamington Cake vodka a must-try for something sweet and traditionally Aussie!
Offering: group table bookings — 2hr gin masterclasses where you can create your own spirit!
Hours: Fri & Sat: 5pm – 9pm | Sun 2pm – 6pm
Where: 2/486 Scottsdale Drive, Varsity Lakes

Tamborine Mountain Distillery
A drive out of town to nearby Tamborine Mountain will reward you with one of the country’s most decorated and awarded distilleries. The range of spirits and liqueurs available here is enormous, equating to everyone who visits finding at least one (if not more) favourite tipples. The venue itself is an eclectic mix of old-world charm with a sprinkling of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory vibes, be sure to bring a crew and enjoy this space — and their tasty drops!
Offering: tasting room bookings — tailored events
Hours: 7 days 10am – 5pm
Where: 10 Macdonnell Road, Tamborine Mountain

Panezski Distillery cocktail (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
Panezski Distillery cocktail (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

Panezski Artisan Distillery
For a long time, vodka has had strong associations with our hardy northern hemisphere friends, the Russians. However, take a closer look at where some of the best vodkas are being produced, and you’ll notice such countries as the USA, France and Poland continually pop up — we may even see Australia soon in that mix. This family-owned distillery in Southport takes their Polish heritage seriously, dishing up some fine examples of vodka and gin with fantastic attention taken from the start, right through to bottling.
Offering: tasting room bookings — group events
Hours: Mon-Thurs: open from 4pm | Fri open from 2pm | Sat open from 10am, bookings highly recommended. Sunday (bookings only)
Where: 7 / 55 Bailey Crescent, Southport

Beenleigh Rum Distillery
With the title of being Australia’s oldest operating distillery, you’re not only tasting rum here but a slice of history. This quality artisan producer is a must-try for those who enjoy their rums, with a sizeable collection of products and an ever-growing line for you to appreciate — and keep on appreciating! Parts of the distillery known as the Big Red Shed have been part of the setup from day one back in 1884 and are mixed with a modern venue space for all to enjoy.
Offering: various tasting experiences — Master of Rum craft your own rum experience — venue hire/functions
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 10am — 5pm | Fri: 10am – 8pm | Sat & Sun: 10am – 4pm
Where: 142 Distillery Road, Eagleby

Husk Distillery (image supplied)
Husk Distillery (image supplied)

Husk Distillery
Ok, so we cheated on this one (not technically a Gold Coast distillery, but we love it so much). Pretty hues of pink and purple have made Husk’s Ink gin one of the most recognisable sips in the past few years. Often punctuated with a sprig of rosemary, you’ll find yourself in a little slice of Northern NSW heaven at their picturesque distillery in the removed countryside spot of Tumbulgum. Although across the border, pack the car with blankets and friends and make an afternoon of it. Read all about the foundation of Husk from Paul Messenger’s interview with us here.
Offering: monthly distillery dinners — table bookings —distillery tours — cocktail masterclasses
Hours: Weds-Fri: 11am – 5pm  | Sat & Sun: 11am – 6pm
Where: 1152 Dulguigan Rd, North Tumbulgum NSW

Capricorn Distilling Co.
Introducing the newest kid on the block! This small-batch distillery has just opened in Burleigh and boasts premium spirits that promise to be ‘as real as it gets.’ Our northern friends may be familiar with Rockhamption’s Saleyards Distillery and now we are fortunate to have the same innovative team bringing their passion to the Goldy. You can expect Spiced Rum, Summer Gin and even Pineapple Rum (for those who love the fruit – even on their pizzas.) Worthy of a leisurely stroll in on the weekend we think!
Offering: distillery tours — distillery door
Hours: Fri-Sun: 10am — 5pm
Where: 21 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Granddad Jacks Craft Distillery

Small batch distillery Wildflower Gin now open

We the people of the Gold Coast are very much community-loving people. We’re all about supporting each other and having a very good time while we do it. Which is why it’s the very best news when a sweet, new space opens up and particularly one that creates their very own brand of gin.

Yes, Gold Coasters we have a new gin distillery on our hands and they are bottling up a very smooth, flavoursome drop indeed. It’s called Wildflower Gin, it can be found on Scottsdale Drive in Varsity Lakes and you’re likely to be visiting there quite a lot from now on.

Wildflower Gin is the work of James Greig and a team of passionate distillers who have over the past few years managed to create what they’ve deemed ‘Burleigh in a bottle’, a gin filled with locally grown botanicals including cardamom, lemon myrtle and coriander plus a little drop of honey from James’ own Burleigh backyard.

It’s a very easy drinking drop, a little bit floral and paired perfectly with either tonic (ask the team which is best) or solo over ice (tried and tested).

The brand came about as a hobby for James, who is quite the multi-passionate local business owner. He began with a very small Still to see if he could make it work and of course, he could.

Now the space boasts Walter, a beautiful copper Still that initially had the job of pumping out an unimaginable amount of hand sanitizer because Wildflower launched right at the beginning of lockdown time. Which may have seemed unlucky but actually allowed James and the team to both help the local community with something we desperately needed (REMEMBER) and make a few new friends along the way.

All of whom are now die-hard fans of Wildflower Signature Gin and for good reason.

At the moment, the space is mostly a cellar door affair so you can pop in, pick up a bottle and head on home again. If you’d prefer to stay a little longer and you probably will, you can book in for a make-your-own-gin class where the team will take you through the exact steps of making your own personal bottle of gin in a tiny little still and with an array of botanicals to choose from. You can book in for a class on the website right now.

Wildflower Gin Distillery cocktails (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
Wildflower Gin Distillery cocktails (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

What a time to be alive.

Either way, you’re going to want to sample Wildflowers’ initial offering ASAP and keep an eye out for upcoming limited edition releases in the future.

See, supporting local businesses and having a good time, we’re all about it.

LOCATION: 486 Scottsdale Rd, Varsity Lakes
HOURS: 2.30pm to 5pm weekdays and 11am to 6pm Saturday

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

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