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Luke Ridden

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.

Burleigh Co-Op

Granddad Jacks Distillery

In what may just be the happiest news of 2018, a gin and whiskey distillery will roll open its doors in a few short weeks and we could not be more into it.

Granddad Jacks Distillery has been in the works for what feels like four years to those of us who love both gin and whiskey a little too much. In reality it’s only been four months but the wait is almost over.

On August 24th, the industrial-style Miami distillery will open for the good folks of the Gold Coast and, it’s certainly a cause to celebrate. Found on Lemana Lane, the distillery has taken up in what used to be a mechanics workshop and the transformation is pure magic.

Father/son team and owners Dave and Luke Ridden (along with the lovely Jess) scoured the Gold Coast in search of iron beams and the like to build a space that fits perfectly in Miami’s backstreets. Steel-inspired high tables with copper stools stretch down the centre of the room and two of the coolest leather couches we’ve ever seen make for a little chill spot at one end (if they go missing forget you read this). A day bed along one wall is lined with colourful cushions and underneath a mural proclaiming ‘too busy for bullshit, too tipsy to care’ and that, friends, is our new life motto.

Above the bar, an exposed brick wall boasts a painted portrait of the man himself, Granddad Jack, whose face peers out over the whole space, keeping an eye on you and your whiskey-fuelled shenanigans. There are wine barrels placed artfully about and the cruisiest of cruisers, decked out in Granddad Jack’s signage, is parked up the back. Oh and the main affair, a huge copper still sits at the back pumping out all the tasty booze. Love you.

So who is this Granddad Jack your new favourite watering hole is named after? Well, he’s a New Zealand born lad whose hard work and sharp mind allowed him to pay a huge family debt singlehandedly at the ripe old age of 14, that’s who. Luke, his great grandson, adopted the same hard working, ‘too busy for bullshit’ attitude and here we are, just a humble beachside city with our very own distillery. What a time.

Granddad Jack’s will sell only their own styles of both gin and whiskey and they’ll have a few varieties of each including what they call a ‘navy strength’ gin that’s 58%. Gimme.

There’ll be no food available on site but, hooray, you can BYO whatever you like so it’ll be a cheese platter and gin party for us thank you very much.

The epic space is also available for events including birthdays, engagement parties and wedding receptions and there was even a secret Sofar Sounds gig there recently. So much room for activities.

Okay we’re done and so very excited. Keep August 24th free, you won’t want to miss this one.

LOCATION: 43 Lemana Lane, Miami
HOURS: 10am until midnight Wednesday to Sunday

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

Make your own gin

The Gold Coast just keeps getting better and better and it’s all thanks to the passionate locals who want exactly that for our lovely little beachside city.

Some of the most passionate locals around are the Ridden family, owners of the Gold Coast’s first gin distillery, Granddad Jacks who are currently in the process of distilling their first batch of whiskey and have started brewing beer too. Busy bunch.

Their most recent offering to the lucky people of the Gold Coast though, is a Make your own Gin experience and let it be known, it is one experience you won’t soon forget. Only six people take part in each session and it’s $200 each.

Not only do you get to take home your very own bottle of gin, you will also have an absolute time making it exactly as Luke, Dave and the team at Granddad Jacks do. But in a miniature version you can take home.

From the beginning though, allow us to walk you through what will happen if you treat yourself to a spot at the bench.

If you aren’t aware, Granddad Jack is Dave’s Granddad, a man of many talents, after whom the distillery is named and for whom we are very grateful (because we got a sweet distillery due to his undying love of whiskey).

So the experience starts with a tour (and a gin and tonic), Dave takes you through, telling stories about Granddad Jacks entrepreneurial ventures trying to keep his family farm afloat and showing vintage images of the man himself with his beloved family. You’ll learn about the process of building the industrial-style space with ALL recycled materials, how the first batch of whiskey is coming along and you’ll see a few of Granddad Jack’s mementos and the stories behind his love of each one. It’s a beautiful story and one that will make you feel fully immersed in the families’ history. Which is, of course, the point.

Next up, Luke will show you the process of distilling spirits then he’ll get you to taste a few gins (straight up) to discern the differences in flavours and processes of production. Then it’s to the bench for science time.

You’ll be seated in front of your own still and Luke will talk you through the technicalities of what you’re about to do then you’ll pour ethanol into the still to begin the process. You then get to weigh out the botanicals you’ll use to flavour your gin and there are MANY options to choose from.

Just quietly, lemongrass, lemon rind and rosehip are a winning combination but you may choose your own adventure if you don’t like winning.

Several more critical steps then need to happen including adding the botanicals to the liquid, draining out the first part of liquid (the heads) getting to the hearts (actual term) which is the good stuff, measuring alcohol content, eating pizza (part of the workshop cost) and finally, bottling your precious gin baby, complete with the name you’ve chosen for your tipple.

There’s a couple more gin and tonics thrown into the mix and a tasting competition at the end of the night, and then you get to go on your merry way with your personalised bottle of gin under your arm.

Not only that, the winner of your night will be in the running to have a batch made and sold within the distillery.

To sum up; you get to enjoy one of the most fun nights ever with the Granddad Jacks crew, learn and practice the exact art of gin making and take home your very own concoction.

So great. Tickets to the first experience will be released this week so make sure you grab one.

LOCATION: 43 Lemana Lane, Miami
WHEN: One Thursday night per month from 6pm to 10pm

Words by Kirra Smith. Images by Desert Island Media.

Burleigh Co-Op

Burleigh Heads has absolutely come alive in the last couple of years with epic eateries and beachside bars popping up all over the place.

The locals are loving it, everybody else is talking about it and we are 100% on board the Burleigh’s the best train.

If there was one thing missing in a suburb filled with good vibes and even better people though, it was an eatery centred around a sense of community and here we are discussing the team of locals who have now taken up that space.

Burleigh Co-op opened their doors today (Monday March 4th) and the sweet little venue already has a huge following, which doesn’t surprise anyone in the least.

The newbie is the work of a gang of folks whose names you no doubt know, including the Hotel Miami crew, the legends at Granddad Jacks, the guys at Lost Boys Barbers, food extraordinaires Fingers and Bones Catering and Elki Blue Jewellery.

They’ve taken over the spot where much-loved Burleigh Social once lived after quickly seeing the hole it’s absence left for the hungry locals.

The bones of the building remain the same but the fitout is all sparkly and new with a whitewashed slash industrial vibe perfectly at home amongst the potted greenery, tangled trellises and a little bench style situation covered in vines.

Inside, glossy white tiles line the back wall, which is where you’ll see the chefs working their magic and you may sit inside to watch them do just that or outside in the prettiest of courtyards.

It’s relaxing, easy on the eye and, well, perfectly Burleigh.

The menu is also one of the best around with plenty of breakfast slash lunch dishes you’ve never laid eyes (or tastebuds) on before.

The Zucchini Waffles are a taste sensation with a sunny side egg (best name for a food-related thing), mixed shoots, chilli sour cream and Parmesan snow (also epic). It’s a big old dish that’ll satisfy you for a very long while.

The Brick Lane Bombay is spice-fried potatoes, flashed spinach, fried egg, coriander, spring onion and lime. You want to eat it just after reading that don’t you. One of the best brunch dishes in the world. Big call, no lie.

Zucchini Waffles

There’s also an array of bowls filled with fresh, nourishing goodness and while we’ll certainly be sampling all of them, first up we’d recommend the Green Papaya Salad because fresh hot smoked tofu, rice noodles, loads of herbs, peanuts, crispy shallots and Chili and lime dressing. All of the flavours.

Oh let’s also discuss the Falafel Fritters with pickled red cabbage and caraway seeds, turmeric cauliflower hummus, barley tabouli and a seeded cracker. Yep.

Every dish deserves a mention but we can’t give away all their secrets.

Green Papaya Salad

The coffee is by local faves Social Espresso so you know a sweet, smooth brew is on the cards and all the produce on offer is local because showcasing our stunning city is what Burleigh Co-op is all about.

From the owners to the eats, everything about the place is part of the community, co-operative vibe Burleigh knows and loves.

So, after all that, obviously the only thing left to do is get down to Hibiscus Haven and get involved in the goodness.

Happiest days.

Words and photos by Kirra Smith.

LOCATION: 2 Hibiscus Haven, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: 6am until 3pm daily

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