If you’re a fan of spirits, whether it be gin or whisky, Victoria is the perfect place to explore some of the best distilleries in the country. From small boutique operations to large-scale producers, there is no shortage of options to choose from. The state has a reputation for producing some of the best spirits in the world, which can be attributed to the region’s unique climate, geology, and ideal growing conditions for a wide variety of grains and botanicals.
All of these factors combine to create a perfect storm of sorts, resulting in an impressive array of spirits celebrated locally and internationally. So, whether you’re a seasoned spirit aficionado or a curious newcomer, Victoria’s distilleries offer something for everyone to enjoy and appreciate.
The mother of all distilleries, Four Pillars is a must-visit, especially if you’re a fan of its award-winning gin. Take a guided tour, peek behind the curtain on the gin-making process, and learn about the company’s history that put Australian gin on the map. You can sample a range of gins and cocktails at the bar, which has a front-row seat to the beautiful Yarra Valley. There are also events, such as gin blending workshops and masterclasses, you can partake in, giving you a unique opportunity to craft your own gin.
You don’t have to travel far to sample an iconic Melbourne dram. Starward Distillery is located in Port Melbourne, only ten minutes from the CBD, but it feels a world away once you step into its grandeur, warehouse-style venue. Wander around the distillery to get a first-hand look at whisky making before retiring to a table or bar for a whisky tasting. The whisky masterclass is great for anyone wanting to dive into the whisky world and try five handpicked expressions.
The building Little Lon Distillery occupies is heritage-listed and Melbourne’s last remaining single-story red brick building in the city. In its past lifetime, it was the centre of the red light district and the slums, but now it’s reinvented as a cocktail bar where you can come in and taste Little Lon Distillery products. The range is small, but it packs a flavoursome punch. Expect to sip on limited edition gins, gins infused with lychees, ginger, and even a Dutch-style bottle, where whisky meets gin.
The Echuca Distillery is a unique venue in the heart of Victoria’s historic riverport town of Echuca. Housed in a restored 100-year-old railway shed, the distillery allows you to experience the art of crafting spirits, from distilling to bottling. Take a guided tour of the distillery, sample a range of locally produced gins, vodkas, and liqueurs at the onsite bar, or enjoy a cocktail on the outdoor deck overlooking the Murray River. Grab a bottle from the gift shop before you head home. We suggest the Chilli Lime Agave Spirit for something a little different.
Known for its unique approach to distilling and commitment to using locally sourced ingredients, Backwoods Distilling Co has been crowned as one of regional Victoria’s finest micro-distilleries. The distillery specializes in creating high-quality whiskey, gin, and liqueurs made using traditional techniques and innovative flavour combinations. Take a guided tour of the distillery to learn about the distilling process, sample a range of spirits in their tasting room, or enjoy a cocktail in the rustic outdoor bar overlooking the countryside.
If you’re cruising along the Great Ocean Road, stop in the small town of Yuulong, for a taste of Great Ocean Road Gin. The distillery is owned by a husband and wife team passionate about creating high-quality, small-batch gins inspired by the surrounding landscape and its native botanicals. Try the flagship gin, “The Original,” made with 12 botanicals, including handpicked samphire from the nearby coastline. The distillery also offers a range of limited-edition gins, including a spicy bushfire-inspired gin and a refreshing cucumber and elderflower gin.