Meet the Maker: The Canberra Distillery

Canberra Distillery
Canberra distilleries
Canberra distillery

The story of The Canberra Distillery is a tale of years of dedication and continual iteration to perfect a craft.  Tim, the founder of The Canberra Distillery, began distilling as a hobby and tweaked his distilling process over the years through a lot of trial and error. Once he was happy with the results he was producing, he wanted to share his efforts with his family and friends. The next logical step after that, of course, was to open his very own Distillery and showcase his products to the greater Canberra region.  The rest, they say, is history.

If you’ve ever tasted a gin from The Canberra Distillery, you will likely agree that Tim and his team channel all their energy into the quality and pursuit of taste innovation! While the raw ingredients of water, yeast and ‘an energy’, be it fruit, grain, or something unexpected – are quite simple, Tim says they never fail to get excited about the inherent possibilities. There’s always a new flavour combination to discover, while perfecting those that have come before.

The Canberra Distillery range currently has almost twenty different products including gins, liqueurs, vodka, rum and whiskies. The team are constantly experimenting with new product ideas and working hard to keep up with the much larger demand for their product. Back in 2015, the very first year The Canberra Distillery was in business, their product range consisted of just one humble gin and only two hundred bottles were filled that year. The demand wasn’t always there, it has taken time and patience for Tim and his team to grow the business to where it is today.

The distillery has a philosophy that focuses on slow growth and an ongoing commitment to learning. If you spend any time with Tim, you quickly learn that his love of learning runs deep. After the Civil War ended, Tim traveled to Sri Lanka and was introduced to Arrack, a spirit the locals make from Palm Trees. He learned how to make the spirit in Sri Lanka using homemade equipment and then applied the same techniques back home in Canberra, using more modern equipment. While the market for most of these products is very small, the real joy Tim sees in the production of products like these is the connection gained through the sharing of the related history and his stories of learning new techniques. If you’re lucky, you may hear some of these tales while visiting the cellar door, attending one of their masterclasses or from the man himself at the Handmade Market.

Canberra Distillery
Canberra Distillery

Tim’s story serves as a fantastic reminder that all businesses start small and is a testament to what years of dedication and a love for both learning and the creative process can become. For those who are thinking about starting their own business, Tim has this to say:

“The key to making it in business is turning up every day for years and solving simple problems with simple solutions. Be mindful of growing too quickly and focus on creating manageable growth to meet the demand as it increases.”

Tim Reardon

The Canberra Distillery are regular attendees at our markets, and just quietly, their Sloe gin is AMAZING! Relying on a wild picked berry from a beekeeper in Tasmania, alongside changing weather conditions results in a slightly different taste each year. You can see the full product range for The Canberra Distillery on their website – The Canberra Distillery – and follow their creative journey on their Facebook and Instagram pages.