Vintage Cellars

What the locals are loving: Swan River Distillery

In an industrial area in inner south east Perth, this family-run distillery has a tasting room where you can sample its craft white spirits and liqueurs.


For father and daughter team Abby and Scott Gleadhill, establishing Swan River Distillery has gone from a part time project back in 2020 to a fully-fledged craft distillery with a lineup which extends from gins and vodka to on-trend flavoured liqueurs. Scott used his skills as an engineer to build his own still and initially “got to work making a few different recipes for things that he wanted to try out,” says daughter Abby. “They were all pretty tasty, and then he got me involved. I’m an art student, and I initially did all the labels as well as the marketing side of things.”


In the early days the Gleadhills were finding their feet, and confidence, in the burgeoning craft spirits scene, doing tastings at several farmers markets around Perth. Buoyed by “really good feedback,” they boldly took the jump after just two months to put things on a full-time footing.

At the cellar door

The Gleadhills now operate a tasting room alongside their Welshpool based distillery where visitors can try the range including the crowd favourite, limoncello. Using lemons sourced from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills, Swan River Distillery Limoncello is crafted using a traditional Italian recipe, says Abby; the lemons all peeled in-house. It is, says Scott, all part of a commitment to use as many local ingredients as they can.


Scott describes the Swan River Distillery Dry Gin as having “that traditional London dry profile”. Made using a classic mix of botanicals, including juniper, coriander seeds, licorice root, angelica root and cassia, it also leans on one of the drawcards of Australian distilling – our native botanicals, such as pepperberry. Equally, the Swan River Distillery Summer Citrus Gin uses an array of Mediterranean citrus like lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit, whilst also using a favourite native fruit, quandong. “It’s pretty sweet and refreshing,” says Abby of an ingredient which is sometimes described as a native plum, and very much favoured from distillers to chefs.


Swan River Distillery Vodka is “made from scratch,” as opposed to buying in neutral spirit, says Scott. It’s charcoal filtered, a process used by distillers to remove organic impurities that can affect the smell, colour and taste of vodka. They also triple-distill their vodkas “so they’re really clean and smooth,” he says. Swan River Distillery Vanilla Bean Vodka uses whole vanilla beans, not essence, to craft a round and luscious vodka. The vanilla beans are infused with the charcoal filtered, triple distilled vodka resulting in a spirit that can be taken as is or used for cocktails, offering a light hint of hazelnut. Scott says that each bottle contains a used vanilla bean, not for flavour as that’s been imparted earlier in the process, but to add a little colour.


Products featured are available from 06/09/23 to 10/10/23, while stocks last. Some products or varieties featured may not be available in all stores.