Dan Murphy’s seeks more Australian made gins as consumers continue to buy local

June 8, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Dan Murphy’s is adding 42 new homegrown gins and now has an impressive range of 400 great Australian gins to choose from – just in time for World Gin Day on 12 June.

“We are seeing a huge trend of customers wanting to support local, Australian-made drinks across all drinks categories, but it’s most noticeable in gin,” said Endeavour Group’s Glass Spirits Category Manager Elise McNeil. 

“The majority of our gin range is now made up of homegrown gins. A couple of years ago, imported gins – especially from the UK – used to rule the gin shelves,” she added. 

Dan Murphy’s has also recently unveiled the retailer’s first Gin Superstore, with more stores soon to follow.

“Our Gin Superstores have a larger than average offer of gin. The first store to have this gin-ormous range is the Brighton Dan Murphy’s in Melbourne, which has 290 gins in total on shelves, with 150 being Australian-made and 100 locally made in Victoria,” said McNeil.

In the last 12 months alone, Endeavour Group – the parent company of BWS and Dan Murphy’s – has seen Australian-made craft and premium gin sales grow by over 50 per cent across both retail chains. Australian-made craft gin has been growing rapidly in the last five years, and the segment is now surpassing vodka, which used to be the best-selling white spirit.

The 42 new gins – which include boutique gins like Bass & Flinders Distillery’s Heartbreak Pinot Noir Gin, Heathcote Smokin’ Chilli Gin, Knocklofty Garden Party Gin and Never Never Ginache –  are already ranged online, and are now landing in selected stores around the same time. Many of the new gins will be found in stores near to or in the same state as the distillery

“The trend among consumers is to choose a gin that is produced as locally as possible, and with many Aussies spending more time than ever exploring their own backyard, they have been discovering Australian distilleries and gins at pace and want to find their drops at their local Dan Murphy’s when they return from their domestic travels,” explained NcNeil.

Dan Murphy’s and BWS are also expanding the range for more than 100 locally made gins from distilleries like Tamborine Mountain Distillery in Queensland, Autonomy Distillery in Victoria and Young Henrys in New South Wales, meaning gins from these distillers will now be available in more stores across the country.

Here are just three of the locally crafted gins that will be on offer:

Tasmania’s Knocklofty Raspberry Garden Gin & Knocklofty Garden Party Gin available in Dan Murphy’s Tasmania retail outlets as well as online. 

These gins are handcrafted by three couples at a home-based micro-distillery in Knocklofty, West Hobart. it is small, environmentally conscious and creative – it is bulit from the ground up. The owners built their own still and ferment tanks with repurposed materials.

All materials are recycled and the distillery offers a refill service to returning customers. Gins are made with excess fruit from gardens around West Hobart and southern farms. For example, the sloe berries are picked from a secret gully in the Derwent Valley which goes into our Garden Party gin.

Roger O’Meagher, co-owner of Knocklofty Distilling, said: “We launched Knockofty over 4 years ago, when there were 23 Tasmanian distilleries. (now over 70). We have all worked together on our “passionate hobby” to create a regular customer base and have gained exposure through markets, festival involvement and by creating unique and one-off collaborations with local businesses. We now roster our production and sales between the partners.”

“To start with, we had to distribute ourselves and as we have limited production capacity as a boutique distillery, we kept to small bars and bottleshops with Tasmanian ownership to provide local providence. Now we have a mainland distributor who has ranged our Raspberry and Garden Party gins with Dan Murphy’s in Tasmanian outlets.”

New South Wales Southern Highlights’ Artemis – 100 Souls Hinterland Gin & 100 Souls Artisan Pink Gin available in 45 Dan Murphy’s stores in NSW, the ACT and online.

Artemis has been making wines for 26 years, and has been making distilled spirits – including traditional Baiju for the past three. They started making gins using traditional methods with pot stills to handcraft their gins with both grape and sugar cane base spirits (instead of grain spirit which is the case for most gins), which gives them – according to head distiller Anton Balog – a more complex and lingering palate structure to complement the expression of juniper and selected botanicals.

“We hand craft premium Australian sugar cane based spirits with the best global produce we can source, paying homage to the many seafarers and spice traders who once sought rare botanicals from around the globe,” said Balog.

The Pink Gin contains 12 different botanicals, including rose petals and hibiscus, while the Hinterland Gin is a traditional gin with focus on juniper, mandarin and sichuan pepper.

Head Winemaker and Distiller Anton Balog said gins and other spirits are a great way for the Artemis to offer a wide range of premium drinks to its customers, as well as a way to generate income when winemaking can be unpredictable and depending on the weather and the seasons and every vintage being different.

“Although single vineyard winemaking is the heart of Artemis, we are seeing an increasing number of customers wanting to explore handcrafted spirits when visiting our cellar door, and it’s great to see that our gins will now be available in most Dan Murphy’s stores in NSW and ACT,” he said.

Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula Heartbreak Pinot Noir Gin from Bass & Flinders Distillery, described by the distillery as  a food-focussed spirit ‘that would test the traditional wines it hopes to compete with’.

Dan Calvert,Distiller and Production Manager at Bass & Flinders says, “Pinot Noir is the most honest of all wines. Finesse and grace are its strengths, leaving zero tolerance for mistakes, allowing them to be laid bare for all to see. Examining a glass of Pinot is like examining the region, the terroir, the grower and the maker all at once. Only those that truly understand are able to be proactive, not reactive and consistently produce excellence. But even the best can be left pulling at their hair or shouting their joy one moment to the next while remaining blindly devoted. This is why Pinot Noir is known as the Heartbreak grape,” Calvert said. 

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