Big prize for small still

Will YeomanThe West Australian
James McCarthy-Price and father David Price, of Esperance Distillery Co.
Camera IconJames McCarthy-Price and father David Price, of Esperance Distillery Co. Credit: Rosemary (Rosie) Henderson/Supplied

Small is still beautiful. Just ask father and son team David Price and James McCarthy-Price, whose small-batch distillery Esperance Distillery Co recently took out gold at the Perth Royal Distilled Spirits Awards for the West Australian Spirit Awards London Dry category, for their first signature release.

David and James had only entered their first gin, Cut and Run, to assess its pedigree against other distilleries across the state. They were surprised when it took out the highest award.

“Our focus was on creating unique flavours from the Esperance region, and awards like this are validation that we’re heading in the right direction and help to give us the opportunity to share these flavours with the world,” David says.

The father and son duo began operation in December 2020, when they repurposed an unused fish processing plant with a focus on creating spirits inspired from native botanicals across in and around the Esperance region.

They launched on a shoestring budget as Australia’s smallest distillery using a repurposed 30L backyard-scale still, and modified the recipe twenty-two times before they were happy with Cut and Run.

A new release is due next month.

“We developed several recipes and had the Esperance community come in to taste and vote on their favourite,” James says. “We’re now working on another signature release. We’ll also be updating our range with a fresh look.

Earlier this year, the distillery was awarded a West Australian Regional Economic Development grant to enable the purchase of a larger WA-made 250L still.

“The grant has provided us considerable flexibility to expand our range and improve our small-batch quality,” James says. The distillery previously only produced gin from a 30-litre still.

“The RED grant allowed us to slingshot our business forward almost a year, increasing our capacity tenfold. This new capability allowed us to diversify our range by offering different gins and spirits, although we will remain a micro-distillery and our craft gin will still be hand-made.”

esperancedistilleryco.com

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