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Swiftcrest Distillery introduces eco-friendly tasting pods stocked with everything you need for a BBQ picnic

Words: Jay Dillon
Images: Tasha Tylee

What do you do when people keep turning up to your on–farm distillery with supplies for a picnic? For Hank and Carrie of Swiftcrest Distillery, it sparked an idea for creating eco-friendly tasting pods where small groups can picnic in style on their rural property near Mansfield.

Hank and Carrie had never entertained the idea of a food operation on the property, however facilitating picnics was potentially a way to provide visitors with a full-day experience that fit their values of always maintaining a low impact on the environment that they are custodians to. But what about that pesky Victorian weather?

“Picnics are nice when the weather is nice, Hank Tells us, but we thought, ‘why not create a space that is comfortable in all seasons’.

With the assistance of a grant from Agriculture Victoria, two timber clad tasting pods have slowly been built on the side of a hill surrounded by eucalyptus trees. The floor to ceiling windows look east across the Delatite valley and onto a granite range that provides the natural filtration for the water utilised in the distillery. On a clear day visitors can take in views of Mt Timbertop and Mt Buller in the distance.

‘We’re quite known in the area for sourcing local produce for everything that we do in the distillery, so we thought, why not extend that philosophy into the picnic experience’. Hank  tells us.

When making a booking for the pods, visitors can select from a long list of goods grown and grazed in the same region, which they will find stocked in the small fridges inside the pods. That might include a simple tasting plate featuring Organic Kalamata from Strathbogie Flavours or huge, plumb strawberries from nearby Bimbimbi Farm. Or for those wanting a fully cooked lunch, they can order in grass-fed organic lamb chops from Clear Hills Lamb, which can be cooked up with root vegetables supplied by Heirloom Naturally. The pods include their own two-burner BBQ, as well as glasses, cutlery and Robert Gordon crockery.

The two pods can be booked for groups of up to 8 people, and are located close enough together that a large group of up to 16 can book both pods for big family gatherings or corporate gatherings. There’s no fee for booking the pods, instead there is a two-bottle minimum from the Swiftcrest distillery range. Staff will also be on hand to make-up gin cocktails for guests such as an espresso martini or a sample of their newly released whisky batch.

When the pods finally go live, bookings will be available from Thursday to Sunday and the distillery will be fully operational during this time. In fact, groups utilising the tasting pods are welcome to come down the hill to take a tour of the production facility and see where the magic happens.

Find out more aobut Swiftcrest Distillery and book your BBQ picnic here:


We wish to acknowledge the Taungurung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.
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