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.
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 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 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
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.