Spirit distillation comes in many guises, but not many achieve the combination of neighbourly collaboration and metamorphosis of less desirable press fractions into top award-grade products. Yet this is exactly what Carmel Distillery, a small-batch artisan producer, has nailed at two premier industry competitions with two of its offerings – Classic Vodka and Hills Dry Gin.
Racking up wins at the Perth Royal Distilled Spirits Awards and the Melbourne Royal Australian Distilled Spirits Awards is something that most producers would expect to take a few years to achieve. Yet Simon King, Director & Chief Alchemist at Carmel Distillery, has managed this in only the second year of operation. The distillery’s Classic Vodka, achieved through careful double distillation and a carbon filtering process, not only won a gold medal but was also awarded the prestigious Champion Vodka accolade at the Perth event. Carmel Distillery Hills Dry Gin was decorated with a silver medal at the same competition and also at the Melbourne contest.
These wins cement Carmel Distillery’s reputation in the small-batch spirits industry and allows this talented producer the opportunity to showcase the importance of community cooperation. King champions using locally sourced products and working in conjunction with other small businesses. From getting hands-on with local grape harvesting to the ecologically sound approach of distilling press fractions that aren’t suitable for premium wine (and would usually be disposed of) into award-winning spirits, the business supports local people, local produce, local livelihoods and the planet.
The reason for utilising the natural wonders of locally grown produce is the powerful combination of climate, soil and natural nutrients that reaps superior fruits year after year.
King says of his medal-winning spirits, “It's an honour to win these awards in my second year of operation and it's a testament, not only to the care and attention I put into my products, but also to the amazing quality of the grapes grown in the Perth Hills.”
In true keeping-it-local style and promoting the lowest possible carbon footprint, Carmel Distillery products are sold at WA markets in Kalamunda, Mundaring, Forrestfield and Cannington, as well as in some of the region’s bottle shops. The enterprise also uses solar power to heat its small still, with recirculated water for cooling further minimising any natural asset drain. With a clear focus on small batches of no more than 40 bottles, Carmel Distillery spirits exhibit pure flavours that allow drinkers to appreciate their natural sweetness and delicate nuances.
As well as these product accolades, August saw King being named in the Inside Small Business Top 50 Small Business Leaders for 2023. Now in its seventh year, the Report garners more and more submissions from an ever more diverse range of sectors every year. Innovation and a focus on sustainability were common themes amongst this year’s top 50.