Scott Wilson-Browne and Chris Pratt met on Pratt’s quest to taste 365 beers in a year. It makes sense he ended up at Red Duck, a brewery in Ballarat known for producing a large number of beer styles with occasionally unusual ingredients such as cactus, sumac and jasmine.
“When I met Scott a few years ago, we both had a passion for craft beer, and then discovered we had a passion for distilling as well,” says Pratt.
Together they founded Kilderkin Distillery, the latest addition to Ballarat’s burgeoning booze scene, joining the city’s four craft breweries.
Wilson-Browne is also the man behind Red Duck Brewery, where the distillery is housed.
Their early plans were to make whisky, but after tasting small-batch gin both in Australia and overseas the pair decided to launch with two gins.
The Scoundrel is a London dry-style with juniper, coriander, cinnamon, aniseed, and both green and brown cardamom. Pratt says the addition of the brown cardamom gives it an “earthy, smoky and almost a slight truffle edge”.
The Larrikin is made with Australian botanicals (three myrtles, pepper berry leaf, roast wattle seed, fresh lilly pilly and river mint) in addition to juniper and coriander.
Kilderkin recently released a barrel-aged version of the Scoundrel, and a barrel-aged Larrikin will follow soon.
“The model is to have a small number of high-quality products,” Pratt says. “We might chase more down the track but the current model is to have the two main gins, a bit of barrel-ageing, and maybe a navy strength as a fourth.”
As for whisky, there's some in the barrels right now, but they don’t anticipate it will be ready until at least 2019. The “kilderkin” barrel size is also where the distillery gets its name.
“They are small barrels, which means the whisky ages more quickly but that’s countered by climate and the fact that Ballarat in the winter, you don’t get much ageing taking place,” Pratt says.
The combined Red Duck and Kilderkin cellar door offers tastings of both gins. If you’re in Melbourne, stockists include Carwyn Cellars, Audacious Monk and Bad Frankie, among others. The spirits are also available online.
11A Michaels Drive, Alfredton
03 533 20723
Mon to Fri 10am–4pm
This story was updated on May 31.