Luke Ridden is a man passionate about the Gold Coast and in particular, our thriving creative and small business communities.
As co-owner of two of our absolute favourite venues, Granddad Jacks Craft Distillery and Burleigh Co-Op, he’s committed to showing the rest of the world just how incredible our city is. Not to mention, he’s one of the nicest blokes you’ll ever meet.
We sat down for a chat about how Granddad Jacks came about and their inaugural batch of whiskey.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I have been on the Gold Coast for 12 years now.
What do you love most about living here?
I really love the art and culture vibe that’s taking over the Coast as well as the foodie scene especially down near us in Burleigh. The growth in the area has created a lot of opportunity for small business owners like myself. I also enjoy the fact that we don’t have as many people as the bigger cities like Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane do and this means that not only is it a more cruisy lifestyle here with nice people but also that not just any small café, restaurant, brewery or distillery can survive. You have to be good to survive and if you’re not, we don’t have the overflow of people to sustain your business.
Tell us how your Miami distillery, Granddad Jack’s, came about?
My father and I were always close to our grandfather, David Goulding AKA Granddad Jack who passed away in 2012. Ever since he passed away, we’ve wanted to pay homage to him in one way or another. Fast forward to late November 2017 and we were talking over a few beers when my old man asked what I thought about starting a distillery. After a few Google searches and some YouTube time I figured it was a great idea. I headed down to Tasmania and then Dad and I headed over to the USA to learn and understand what craft distilling was all about. The day we landed back in Australia we secured the building and I started demolishing at 5pm that night. Seven months, 15 skip bins and an almost entire rebuild later, we opened in late August 2018 with whiskey in barrels and three gins available.
What did you want to bring to the city by opening it?
I wanted to bring something that didn’t exist, something fresh and new and something that would compliment the great community and awesome businesses that are around us in Miami/Burleigh. It was also very important to me that it was truly a local’s spot where dogs, families and pushies are always welcome.
You built the entire space yourselves, what did it take to bring it all together?
A lot of hours, love, a detailed brief, attention to detail, an amazing architect and a small but world-class team of tradies.
You’ve just released a ‘Make your own gin’ series for Gold Coasters, what do people get who attend?
A truly unique experience that includes a tour of our distillery from myself and my father, a gin tasting, gin history lesson, gin and tonics, pizza, a complete distillation of your own 500ml bottle of custom gin that you have created and even the chance to win the opportunity to have your custom made gin become a small batch release to be sold in our tasting room. What more could you want? I’m biased but damn that’s some value crammed into four hours!
You’re in the process of making a batch of whiskey, talk to us about that…
Just last week, we made over 5000 litres of what’s called whiskey wash (basically un–hopped beer) that will ferment, creating a mixture containing around 10% alcohol which will then be distilled into our single malt, bourbon style, rye and peated whiskeys.
You also co-own a cafe, Burleigh Co-Op, what’s the vibe there?
Burleigh Co-Op is truly a place that’s by the people for the people! With seven different businesses coming together to create a clean, refreshing spot for Gold Coasters to enjoy world class food and great locally made coffee.
What else is in the works for 2019?
A bunch more fun! Every month Granddad Jacks will be releasing a small batch creation. Everything from coffee liqueurs to agave spirits will be on offer. There is a distillery experience at least once a month and a lot more five questions videos on our socials where we get to introduce epic locals to the rest of our followers. Wherever there is an opportunity for me to create something new I’ll be jumping at it! A lot can happen in seven months.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Café for breakfast: Burleigh Co-Op of course!
Restaurant: It’s a three-way way tie – Restaurant Labart, Hideaway and Fredrick’s.
Coffee spot: I’m a Cold Brew fan so Burleigh Co-Op or Commune
Where do you like to spend your time off: I love being able to hang out with my five-month-old boy Archer and my better half Jess. However, I love what I do so I never truly feel like I take time off and my mind is always going a thousand miles an hour.