Melbourne’s mid-strength distillery East Pole was established as a response to the tendency for Australians towards moderate drinking alongside its continued appetite for gin.
Founder and CEO of East Pole Distillery, Dylan Alexander, says “Like most, I enjoy having a few drinks from time to time but, as life got busier I struggled to find drinks that matched my lifestyle.
“We’ve seen the moderation trend grow, but to me it feels really all or nothing. Why drink 11 months of the year and then stop cold turkey? What if we just looked to moderate the every day?”
East Pole is Australia’s first dedicated mid- strength distillery. Its research showed that 79 per cent of people would find a full-flavoured gin with less alcohol highly appealing*. It was the impetus to create a distillery that specialised in crafting gins with lower ABVs but Mr Alexander says that making a full-flavoured, mid-strength gin was a lot harder than he originally thought.
“Our major challenge was achieving the flavour profile we wanted with just half the alcohol. It needed to taste like regular gin, not just a watered down version,” he said.
To simply dilute the distillate to create a mid-strength gin, just makes for a watered down liquid.
“The last 18 months has seen the team develop multiple recipes, methodologies and countless combinations to get the full-flavour taste profile of East Pole’s mid-strength gin just right.
“Some of the questions we asked ourselves along the way included: what if we made a hydrosol? What would happen if we macerated the botanicals for longer? Or what if we added whole lemons to the gin basket? Not everything we tried worked and some things we didn’t think would work did but, we couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”
Once the East Pole team mastered the method for its Classic Dry Gin, featuring the telltale hit of juniper, liquorice root to give texture and whole lemons to give it that citrus lift, the team moved on to expanding the range.
East Pole believes it has got the recipe just right and has launched two new gins, Classic Dry and Pink Grapefruit, each capturing the intensity, mouth- feel and taste profile of a full-strength gin, but with only 22.3 per cent ABV.
“East Pole’s Pink Grapefruit Gin is distilled with pink grapefruit, strawberry gum and a hint of sea salt for a perfectly balanced flavour with a touch of pink,” says Mr Alexander.
East Pole’s Classic Dry Gin and Pink Grapefruit Gin are currently on- and off-premise in Victoria and NSW.
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*East Pole Distillery Customer Deck 2021 – Qual and Quant Undertaken May 2021