Niche no and low alcohol distiller moves to the Gold Coast

Queensland distilling company Clovendoe Distilling Co is bringing its zero proof and low alcoholic spirits to our shores.

Catie Fry and Sarah Bendy, are founding team at Clovendoe Distilling Co, which is not only one of the few all-female distilling companies in the world, but is also the only no and low alcohol niche distiller in Australia.

Distiller Catie uses 21 unique botanicals, ethically sourced or procured locally, distilling them in small batches in a one-of-a-kind traditional copper pot still.

With an increasing move to reduce alcohol consumption, this means sober curious people can still enjoy a ‘grown up’ drink while socialising.

Catie is no stranger to the distilling space, running the award-winning gin and rum distillery, Saleyards Distillery, with her husband in Rockhampton. This distillery, now re-branded to Capricorn Distilling Co, will also be heading our way. We shot Catie a few questions ahead of the March move.

Why did you choose the GC to set up shop?

Why would you not move to the Gold Coast?! Why did it take us so long? 😉 Originally, we wanted to establish the Saleyards Distillery on the Gold Coast, but the universe had

other ideas and pulled us further north to ‘rum country’. We always wanted to end up back down here on the coast for the chilled lifestyle and gorgeous beaches. There’s also a strong ‘paddock to bottle’ scene here and it’s great seeing both the locals and tourists getting behind the craft breweries and distilleries popping up. I think people around here are enjoying the thrill of the flavour profiles coming out of our Australian products.

Tell us about the unique combination of flavours you are using in your three products. Are they new? Tried and tested? Inspired by real life experiences?

We work with 21 unique botanicals between the three products, all of which are ethically sourced or procured locally. In fact, I even forage for a few of them myself for every batch. We prepare all the botanicals with our very own hands and distill them small batch in our one-of-a-kind traditional copper pot still. They are crafted similar to that of a gin, sans the predominant juniper that a standard gin requires. Instead, I have intentionally made each blend bold and incredibly distinctive from one another in their flavour profile. One of the blends (Sprout) does contain a light balance of Juniper berries but it is not the most prominent flavour note, you could very much argue whether this is a gin or botanical vodka. Gin… Botanical Vodka…Godka…Vin…Whatever you want to call it…Who cares…it bloody tastes good! For categorical ease, they are botanical low-and no-alcohol spirits. 

Clovendoe SEED is inspired by the familiar essence of the Australian garden/back yard. We are talking your old faithfuls like lavender and rosemary springing up from the garden beds of your nana’s backyard dancing alongside the tangy, sweet notes of Australian native lemon myrtle. 

Clovendoe SPROUT is inspired by the alluring aromas of the Spice Trail of the Middle East. Think aniseed and chai spices with a hint of turkish delight flavours and a sprinkle of juniper berries.

Clovendoe Stem is inspired by the fresh and exotic flavours of South East Asia. Just imagine the scents and tastes you may experience as you swing on a hammock under a leafy tree on that much needed Thai island getaway (we wish! Fuck you COVID)… Talking kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass and galangal.

Why do you think people are being drawn to non alcoholic spirits right now, instead of having say, just a soda and lime?

Those days are well and truly over aren’t they? Mindful drinking is on the rise and more and more people are choosing to reduce their intake or abstain from the booze all together, so consumers want options, they want flavour, they want adventure, sophistication and most importantly, they no longer wish to hang out in FOMO land. Pairing a refined, well crafted zero-proof spirit with soda water, tonic or a delicate mixer, finished with a fresh garnish in a fancy glass and you can smugly sip away at the bar looking and feeling like a sophisticated adult. All I can say is, thank god we have arrived!

So what is the actual alcohol content of your LOW alcohol range?

A typical vodka contains about 40 percent ABV. Clovendoe 24 contains 24 % ABV. Half the alcohol, half the calories but all the flavour and complexities of a full strength.

Can you tell us a bit about the process to remove alcohol from spirits? Is it complex?

For both the low and no alcoholic spirits, the complexity of the process is mostly in the preparation and balance of the botanicals. This is also the most time consuming part, as we put so much attention on what we choose to leave out and what we choose to keep in of each botanical- But the payoff is worth it. Producing the zero-proof is more laborious than the low alcoholic spirits, as even though there is no alcohol in the final product, it is actually more expensive and time consuming to make. The non alcoholic products require larger amounts of botanicals for each batch and more time is spent nurturing the botanicals through the maceration process before the actual distillation.

Watch this space for news of the new distillery opening in March.

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