Apollo Bay Distillery
Apollo Bay lifer Andrew Noseda has built a small drinks empire in the region. He opened Great Ocean Road Brewhouse in the old Ballarat Hotel in 2015, Otway Brewing an hour’s drive inland, and also produces Prickly Moses beers and Forbidden Fruit ciders. In early 2020 he added a distillery to the family, breathing new life into the old Apollo Bay Post Office, a 30-second stroll from the brewhouse.
Gin is the current focus here, but whisky is on the way. The five gins iit makes take their names from local nautical folklore, like the SS Casino, constructed in 1882 in Scotland and which regularly sailed the coastline here until it was lost in 1932. Parts of the wreck still sit 400 metres offshore at the northern end of the bay.
Each gin is infused with a medley of local botanicals. The SS Casino Dry Gin favours native cinnamon myrtle and fennel, while the Australian Ocean Gin uses foraged saltbush and wild rosemary. Try them both via a gin flight, along with a bright grapefruit and hibiscus number, and a sweet gin liqueur with notes of elderflower and lemongrass.
Woodfired Naples-style pizzas are also on the menu. Occasionally they come topped with local abalone and scallops from the nearby Apollo Bay Fishermen’s Co-Op during town festivals. Sip the navy-strength gin (infused with Sichuan pepper, ginger, sesame and bay) in cocktail form between slices, or browse the wine list, which features wineries in the area. Chase lunch with an espresso from Hello Coffee, which roasts on-site.