Never Never’s Oyster Shell Gin now in reusable ecoTOTE format for on-premise

November 22, 2023
By Melissa Parker

Never Never Distilling Co. continues to drive its famous Oyster Shell Gin to new heights, collaborating with ecoSPIRITS to make it more affordable to bars, restaurants and hotels and eliminating 95% of single glass use and packaging waste.

Oyster Shell Gin is the second Australian product to be featured in the fully reusable ecoTOTE format, the first being Never Never’s signature Triple Juniper Gin.

“A gin like Oyster Shell Gin belongs in this circular packaging format,” says Never Never Distilling Co. Brand Director Sean Baxter. “It was a gin born from finding flavour in waste products and being more mindful about our ingredient selection,” he says.

“This mindfulness now extends to how it is delivered to bars and restaurants across Australia,” says Sean. “ecoSPIRITS’ technology delivers a 60-90% reduction in the carbon emission footprint of premium spirits packaging and distribution, and up to 95% less physical glass waste.”

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“When we started Never Never we have always aimed to continue to cause a stir not only in flavour, but also innovation,” says Sean. “We’re delighted to play a key role in this incredible waste reduction movement, which will have a lasting impact on the sustainability of our industry,” he says.

Oyster Shell Gin has quickly become one of Never Never’s most popular releases, driven by its creative ingredients and capacity to engage customers’ curiosity. It was first released in late 2021 as a collaboration with Society restaurant in Melbourne where it features heavily on their martini and cocktail menu, being a favourite among customers and the Society bartender and restaurant team alike.

“Oyster shell is an ingredient which delivers minerality and a subtle sea spray character to our gin,” says Sean. “It’s a flavour supported by the carefully considered inclusion of other coastal ingredients such as Geraldton wax, olearia, salt bush and Tasmanian wakame,” says Sean.

“It’s as contemporary as you can get in the gin category,” he says, “it plays the role of a coastal citrus gin with more exciting flavour combinations than anything else on the market.”

It’s the lids of Kangaroo Island Pacific oysters that are critical to the flavour and mouthfeel of the Oyster Shell Gin. These oyster lids are retained when the oysters are processed and then steeped in neutral spirit before being distilled the next day. This distillate forms the heart of Never Never’s Oyster Shell Gin.

“The inclusion of the shells adds weightiness to the gin’s mouthfeel and creates a subtle coastal character that makes it unmatched in a contemporary martini,” he says. “Lashings of wax flower, wakame and salted citrus scratch the itch of anybody who loves a savoury martini.”

“We love it dry with a lemon or grapefruit twist, obviously accompanied by a fresh local oyster where available,” says Sean.

“For those partial to a gin and tonic, it works really well with Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic water and a lime leaf garnish,” says Sean, “it’s the perfect example of a sophisticated, citrus-forward coastal highball.”

However, Never Never’s favourite way of consuming its Oyster Shell Gin is frozen from the oyster shell itself.

“Everyone’s heard of a Shoey, well now we’re bringing out the Shelly,” says Baxter. “We take ice cold frozen Oyster Shell Gin and pour it into the empty, freshly consumed oyster shell,” he says.

“You then down it in one,” Baxter says. “The Shelly is a theatrical way to sample our briney coastal gin, one that pops with bright salted citrus character,” he says.

“It’s a great way to add theatre to a simple serve of a dozen fresh oysters in any restaurant or bar across the country and create a truly memorable experience for your guests,” says Baxter.

Never Never is also going after the tequila category by showcasing just how well it works in classic tequila cocktails.

“Our Oyster Shell Gin makes a better coastal ‘margarita’ than any of those cheap imported mixto tequilas,” says Sean, “the bright herbaceous notes and citrus aromas work brilliantly in a riff on a Tommy’s Margarita or Paloma cocktail.”

“If someone was able to convince a bartender back in 2010 that tequila works in a Negroni, then I can get people to try Oyster Shell Gin in a margarita in 2023,” he laughs, “add a splash of jalapeño pickle brine and you’re off to the races.”

“We can’t wait to share a few martinis with mates and the odd Shelly with those who enjoy sampling the very best coastal gin in the country,” says Sean.

Never Never Distilling Co. is quickly becoming renowned for its innovative approaches to flavour, with their collaborations being the ‘engine room’ for their experimentations and trials.

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