Cape Byron Distillery wins Sustainable Distillery of the Year
We’re very proud to announce that Cape Byron Distillery was awarded ‘Sustainable Distillery of the Year’ at the international Icons of Gin Awards 2020, which took place in London.
The Icons of Gin celebrates the international best of producers, bars and retailers and those taking the coveted top spots are chosen for showing particular dedication and drive. This award holds an extremely important place in our hearts as sustainability and having a positive impact on the environment run through the family & the company’s veins.
Our Sustainability Officer, Alex McManus shares our journey:
The distillery has achieved some amazing milestones on our sustainability journey.
The Distillery & the Farm
Cape Byron Distillery was purpose-built in 2016 and features a cellar door bar made from locally sourced Norfolk pine and recycled materials.
Ethical local timber supplier, Wooden Anchor repurposed the noxious weed, Camphor Laurel into every day usable timber products at the distillery including our office desk. chairs, gin tasting boards and recently our “dunnage” style racking for storing our Whisky barrels.
Once a run-down dairy farm, the land is now a thriving ecosystem due to the family’s regeneration effort over the last 30 years, planting over 35,000 native subtropical rainforest trees. The distillery, perched in the heart of the farm, offers a unique experience for visitors to the region, providing a guided tour of the rainforest, an expertly-led tasting of the spirits produced and an insight into the art of distillation. Visitors will also discover the Tetragonula Carbonaria stingless bees endemic to the region and the European honey bees recently established in a Flow Hive, both encouraging native pollination. The tour aims to educate visitors on the importance of the Big Scrub rainforest and the vast array of indigenous rainforest foods that are grown in the Northern Rivers and used in Cape Byron Distillery’s spirits.
Local & Natural Products
The Big Scrub and the family’s passion for rainforest regeneration is at the core of what we do and the inspiration behind Brookie’s Gin. Brookie’s Dry Gin contains 25 botanicals of which 17 are native to our region of the Northern Rivers, which consequently support the sustainable growth of local businesses. This includes the unique Byron Sunrise Finger Limes, Aniseed Myrtle, Cinnamon Myrtle, Macadamia, Native River Mint and Native Raspberry.
Brookie’s Byron Slow Gin showcases a unique rainforest fruit, native to the subtropical region of Byron Bay, the Davidson Plum. This extraordinary fruit is sourced from local suppliers including Rainforest Foods Byron Bay, a pioneer in the evolving Australian native food industry.
Mac. is created using macadamia meal, the Australian native Wattlessed, and macadamia shells, typically a waste product that we roast in our ovens which gives Mac. its gold-like colour and adds coffee and butterscotch note to the liqueur. Brookie’s is pioneering the use of this by-product from the macadamia industry into a commercial product.
Moreover, the journey of our whisky production begins with creating a product similar to beer without the inclusion of hops, known as a ‘wash’ in the industry. Our beer/wash is supplied and produced by neighbours and good friends at Stone & Wood Brewery, using malted barley as the preferred grain before we distilled it into our new-make spirit.
Our Brookie’s bottles are labelled using biodegradable Bagasse paper stock, which is created from waste sugar cane fibres and is a more eco-friendly solution than wood pulp paper.
All 25 botanicals along with the spent wash from Gin and Whisky production are composted onsite in a closed-loop system. This not only reduces our waste to landfill, but once complete is used to build soil structure and biodiversity throughout our regenerated rainforest and macadamia orchard.
Our production waste is meticulously divided into 3 waste streams – plastic, cardboard and green waste/organics (composted on-site). In addition, we have also diverted over 120kg of soft plastics from landfill over the last four months by separating it into its own waste stream.
While we have executed many measures, sustainability is an ever-evolving process to improve our impact on the environment and our community. Within the next 12 months, we have projects to implement solar power for over 90% of our energy needs, implement innovative heat recovery solutions, a new eco-storage whisky warehouse and we are also on the exciting journey towards B-Corp certification!
If we can build a thriving business and produce exceptional spirits whilst having a positive impact on the community & environment, then we can hold our heads up high. ~ Eddie Brook, CEO & Co-Founder