As they say, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” or in this case “when life gives you a surplus of beer, you make Moonshine”, so when COVID-19 hit Australian shores, the highly-awarded Cape Byron Distillery saw an opportunity to create some ‘sustainable’ magic with local craft brewing legends Stone & Wood. The result? Pacific Moonshine – a clear and unusual spirit that was artfully distilled from kegs of Stone & Wood Pacific Ale.
Tropical and salty like your first post-surf sip, Pacific Moonshine is the lovechild spirit born of the pandemic. Bursting with flavours of tropical fruits such as fresh pineapple, lychee, passionfruit and mango, along with hints of malt on the nose. The taste is citrusy and dry with a medium to long finish. But best not to get too attached, with only 3,000 units available, this is one strictly limited-edition sipper.
When the pandemic hit, Northern Rivers business, Stone & Wood, bought back their kegs which were unable to be stored or sold by all of the pubs and bars around the country. This resulted in a surplus of beer that could overflow a swimming pool. This is no joke!
“Naturally we couldn’t stand the thought of all that delicious Pacific Ale going to waste. So, we asked ourselves, how can we lighten the load for our beer brewing buddies? Initially, one idea was to attempt distilling the beer to create hand sanitiser and then the idea of distilling Pacific Ale evolved into the peculiar idea of making a ‘beer spirit’ to be enjoyed as a delicious drink. Our hands rose to the sky as we offered to ‘take some off their hands’, and thus, the experiments began,” said Co-Founder and Distiller of Cape Byron Distillery, Eddie Brook.
Sustainability Manager at Stone & Wood, James Perrin added, “We’re a brewery that proudly produces quality beer while sharing the love for community spirit, so it was a no brainer when our good friends, Cape Byron Distillery, came to us with their unusual ideas. Sustainability is at the core of our business, with waste being a key focus, so we couldn’t be prouder that our perfectly good Pacific Ale that couldn’t be sold, found a new home, and has been transformed into a delicious spirit.”
This fresh Pacific Ale was transported just a short ten-minute drive up the road to Cape Byron Distillery where the beer was artfully distilled twice through ‘George’, the 2,000L custom-made copper pot still, to create a spirit not too dissimilar to the production of single malt whisky.… The twice-distilled spirit that runs clear off the still is then blended with a touch of spring water to be bottled at 44% ABV. A small amount has been stored away for barrel ageing, to be released in the near future.
A product created from a community collaboration during some challenging times will raise funds that will be directed back into the community. Cape Byron Distillery will be donating $6 from every bottle sold to the inGrained Foundation, a not-for-profit also based in the Northern Rivers that supports grassroots environmental and social charities.
Eddie concludes, “The moral of the story? In spite of everything, the sun and moon continue to shine, and with dark times, good times arrive. So here she is, our Pacific Moonshine, a spirit to raise your spirits!”
So, what do you do with this ‘beer spirit’, we hear you ask? Try mixing it with soda or some refreshing pineapple juice served in a tropical tiki style glass, think Mai Tai or a Daiquiri.
Pacific Moonshine is available online in 700ml bottles. RRP is $89.99.