Head to the cellar door at Kalki Moon Distillery, and you’ll find it’s a family affair. Owner Rick Prosser’s wife Kylie is at the cellar door, his son is head distiller, his daughter and cousins work on the floor, and in a stroke of family diplomacy, his father-in-law retains the honorary title of chief taste-tester, despite a long line of visitors volunteering for the coveted gig.
Describing the Bundaberg distillery as “proudly Australian owned and operated and all family”, Rick was inspired by the family-run business model American bourbon whisky companies like Jim Beam and Jack Daniels pioneered. “They all had this history of having family members throughout their business, and I thought what better way than to set up a family-owned business and distillery, and pass that on down the line to my family,” he says.
After spending 13 years working at Bundaberg Rum and earning the title of ‘Master Distiller’, Rick opened his own distillery in 2017 after a short stint freelancing. With two big namesake drinks producers occupying the town of Bundaberg, Rick was inspired to name his brand Kalki Moon after a night gazing across the sugar fields under a full moon in the Bundaberg suburb of Kalkie.
Six years on, Kalki Moon’s small batch, handcrafted Classic Gin is available across Australia. The distillery was shortlisted for International Gin Producer of the Year (2022) by the IWSC (International Wine & Spirit Competition), and the cellar door attracts more than 40,000 visitors annually, emerging as a major attraction in Bundaberg.
A big part of Kalki Moon’s success has been its commitment to using quality local ingredients. Lemon myrtle, cinnamon myrtle and finger limes are sourced locally, as well as the famous Bundaberg ginger used in its Gin Gin Mule premix. Another popular premix is its ‘Pink Gin Tin’, made from an elderflower and rose flavoured pink gin liqueur that has the Classic Gin as its base, topped up with apple and raspberry soda.
For Rick, a key principle of his operation is transparency around the ingredients used. “We want the consumers to know what goes into our products, and education is huge,” he says. “I think where we’ve been extremely successful is educating people on how the products are made, so they really get the taste and smell and touch at the distillery with the tastings and tours.”
The cellar door experience has been a huge success for Kalki Moon, with distillery tours available for visitors twice daily and tastings at the cellar door. The distillery has also been a hit with locals who have rallied around the operation and are regular visitors for cocktail flights and private functions. “The locals have been amazing. I suppose you know that we’ve had the one alcohol producer in town since 1888,” says Rick. “They were probably thankful that another alcohol producer offering something different popped up.”
Products featured are available from 17/05/23 to 22/06/23, while stocks last. Some products or varieties featured may not be available in all stores.