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Born and bred Torquay brothers have traded their tools to follow their distillation dreams

Words by Anthea Riskas
Images supplied

Tucked into a Torquay business park behind the Surf Coast Highway, brothers Shaun and Leigh Bridges have used their combined trade skills to convert an industrial factory into their dream bar, cellar door, gin tasting room and function space – Flowstate Brewers and Distillery.

“It’s definitely been a slog to go from a tiny little storage unit to where we are now… but it’s been well worth it”, explains Shaun, of the 4-year journey that started when Leigh asked him, “Do you want to work for someone else your whole life and do a job you’re not really that into? Or do you want to have something you can pass on to your kids?”

With a multifaceted skill set between them including, carpentry, horticulture and brewing, the pair have a unique creativity when it comes to process, manufacture and botanical knowledge, as well as some serious qualifications, with Leigh holding a Wine & Spirit Education Trust Diploma of Distillation.

Working hard to refine their distillation process after moving from Alchemy in Healesville to purchasing their own still, the siblings have managed to produce two Gold Medal, award-winning gins for their Craft and Oaked and Smoked varieties, at this year’s Australian Distilled Spirit Awards.

Their majestic 300-litre copper still, affectionately named Bobby, sits pride of place overlooking the new premises, and is currently being put to work for the upcoming release of a spicy, fruity Christmas Gin, with a flavour profile best served over ice or ice cream!

This kind of innovative approach to their product, also extends to their brewing, with a saison-style, wild ferment beer currently being aged in the barrels on-site and set to be tapped within the next 6-12 months.

Add to this a collaboration with local roasters Mikro and a coffee liqueur set for release in the coming weeks, their first forays into experimenting with a unique whiskey wash and Gin Masterclasses open for bookings, it’s a wonder these two have had time to prepare for the grand opening of their venue on November 25th.

But the ambition is obvious and Shaun plainly explains, “You’ve got to do it, otherwise we’ll get left on the shelf”.

The Details

What: Cellar door, bar and function venue
Where: 17/10 Cylinders Drive, Torquay, 3228
When: November 25 and beyond
More Info: Flowstate Brewers and Distillers

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