Growing up in Myrtleford in Victoria’s north-east, Bree and Leigh Attwood considered neighbouring Yackandandah to be a bit of a ghost town. Now, the duo are part of the town’s revival, having ditched Melbourne for a life making whisky and gin as Backwoods Distilling Co.

Nurturing a love of Victorian and Tasmanian whisky, Leigh travelled to Tassie in 2016 to learn the ropes of distilling before the Attwoods decamped for Yackandandah in 2017, making tiny pilot batches of spirit out of their shed. Now in a permanent home within the Yack Station precinct, Backwoods produces uniquely Australian spirits. The first official release in 2020 (an unaged rye) set the tone for small-batch whiskies that use Riverina grains, heritage rye, roasted malts and traditional processes like long fermentation and double distillation.

The goal was only ever to make whisky, but Backwoods has split its focus to include gin like the High Country gin with lemon myrtle, pepperberry and wattle seed, and a version of the same in which Scion Wine muscat grapes are steeped for eight weeks.

Those on the whisky hunt will know that, as with many of Victoria’s micro-distilleries, Backwoods’ wares can be hard to track down due to their tiny batches. Visitors to the distillery bar will almost always find a brown spirit to sample, though, as the Attwoods keep aside some distillery-only, single cask whiskies to try alongside the current releases.

Drinkers can also find a simple menu of mixed drinks to sip among the working stills, like gin Margaritas or a Paloma-style blend of grapefruit and Backwoods’ salted lime gin. As part of the Yack Station precinct, you can also order jaffles and coffee from neighbours The Guard cafe.

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Updated: May 10th, 2023

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