The largest grape growing area in Australia by far, South Australia’s Riverland is responsible for a third of Australia’s total wine production. The abundant vineyards stretched out on either side of the glittering Murray River have also made it the historic home of brandy in this country, and since opening in 2015, Renmark’s 23rd Street Distillery has paid tribute to that heritage by using historic copper stills crafted in the 1930s.
“Those tall old stills give the spirit a distinctive style that’s more elegant than a lot of other craft distilleries,” says Master Blender Chris Dix. “In Not Your Nanna’s Brandy that creates light, fruity notes and for Australian Single Malt Whisky it means clean, malty characters.”
A third still produces the more delicate white spirits and along with an emphasis on heritage, Dix is constantly looking to innovate with new products.
23rd Street Distillery is part of the family-owned Bickford’s Group and recently toasted the owners’ Macedonian heritage with a punchy, aniseed-heavy ouzo that’s sweetened with a touch of cane sugar.
Other products take inspiration from closer to home. “The Riverland is one of Australia’s great fruit bowls,” explains Dix, who uses local berries for the sweet, juicy 23rd Street Mulberry Gin, with a vibrant purple hue that won a gold medal at the 2022 Gin Masters.
The sophisticated 23rd Street Signature Gin bursts with citrus sourced from surrounding orchards, while rose petals grown just a few kilometres from the distillery add a gorgeous blush to the gently perfumed Riverland Rose Vodka. For added convenience, both products are also available with mixers in slim 23rd Street Gin and Tonic RTD cans.
As well as looking good in the glass, these flavour-packed spirits stand out on the shelf thanks to the distillery’s long standing commitment to working with talented Australian creators.
Every label is custom-designed by an emerging artist who draws inspiration from the ingredients to create eye-catching artworks featuring the flowing lines of botanicals and modernist splashes of colour. It’s typical of the way 23rd Street Distillery brings together time-honoured craft and contemporary flair, a unique blend that ensures the Riverland will remain at the centre of Australian spirits production for many years to come.
You can’t miss the stylish glass tower surrounding the stillhouse, which beckons like a lighthouse on the drive into Renmark. Step inside the onsite bar and restaurant lined with giant reclaimed wood beams and you can taste your way through the range of spirits or make your own customised flavour at a gin blending masterclass. Then, take a tour of the facilities to see the gleaming copper stills in action and explore barrel rooms where an enticing aroma of spicy malt and cedar rises from the maturing spirit.