Passion for fine dining creates distillery spirit

Passion for fine dining creates distillery spirit

Smart Farmer News
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Wanting to spend more time on the family farm and a trip to Tasmania kick started Kylie Sepos' dream of running her own distillery.

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SPIRITED: Kylie Sepos is pouring her passion for fine food and drink into her gin, The Farmer's Wife.

SPIRITED: Kylie Sepos is pouring her passion for fine food and drink into her gin, The Farmer's Wife.

Wanting to spend more time on the family farm and a trip to Tasmania kick started Kylie Sepos' dream of running her own distillery.

After more than 16 years in the business sector, Kylie stepped away from a flourishing career to create The Farmer's Wife Distillery on the Sepos' 162 hectare farm.

Primarily a free range egg business and commercial Angus operation with 200 breeders, Kylie and husband Gavin are third-generation farmers on the property in the small town of Allworth, an hour north of Newcastle.

During a tour of some of the craft distilleries in Tasmania, Kylie decided that was where her future lay.

She commandeered Gavin's motorbike shed, turned it into The Farmer's Wife Distillery and has not looked back.

"In my time in the business sector, I was lucky enough to have access to a lot of fine foods, wines and spirits," Kylie said.

"In that time I feel I have developed a good palette and a love for good food and drink.

"When we went to Tasmania, I was trying all these excellent Australian spirits at these wonderful boutique distilleries and I thought 'this is what I want to do'.

"I wanted to make something unique and I chose gin because I always enjoyed it and I love that no two gins are the same.

"Each distiller can put their own personal touch on their gin through the varying botanicals which can be used."

"Many other spirits don't allow you quite the same level of creativity. With gin, you can really put your signature on it."

Kylie took to reading up on crafting gin as at the time, there was no real formal education for distilling in Australia.

"I read anything I could find on the subject and basically taught myself," she said.

"I did two years of a science degree before I swapped to business when I was at uni, so I was fortunate I had a good understanding of chemistry, fermentation and distillation.

"After I felt I had read enough, I completed some short courses and did some hands on work with a few different distilleries. This showed me I could do it."

While in theory this sounds straightforward, Kylie spent nearly three years to perfect her recipe - mostly through trial and error - to find the balance of ingredients she wanted.

It is all systems go now, however, there has been a slight hold up recently.

"We ran out of water," Kylie said.

"The Farmer's Wife uses tank water and we ran out.

"So anytime we have a bit of rain, we go out and do a batch! We've had some good rain recently and hopefully that continues."

Adaptability a key ingredient of gin recipe

ADAPTABLE: Kylie Sepos' gin recipe is flexible to incorporate seasonal botanicals.

ADAPTABLE: Kylie Sepos' gin recipe is flexible to incorporate seasonal botanicals.

While Kylie Sepos has painstakingly developed her successful recipe for The Farmer's Wife gin, using natural products means there is varying flavours and aromas which require adaptability in the distillery.

Kylie secures the majority of the products needed to make her gin from a local organic grocer who sources the raw materials for her.

"The alcohol is an Australian sugar cane product, but there are also 13 botanicals in our recipe," Kylie said.

"Some of the botanicals I grow onsite as I am very interested in permaculture farming.

"Others, like the organic grapefruit, we source from the organic grocer.

"We go through the grocer because they have a number of producers they deal with.

"If one producer is out of stock of what we need, they can source it through another."

In the not too distant future, Kylie is hoping to grow a lot more of the botanicals in The Farmer's Wife herself.

"We have got the go ahead to build a new distillery on it's own site," she said.

"As part of that expansion, the permaculture farm will grow too.

"Not only will it be great using more of own products, but customers will be able to see where the ingredients are grown."

Craft gin distillery keeping very busy

PRODUCTIVE: The Farmer's Wife distillery has created 33 batches so far.

PRODUCTIVE: The Farmer's Wife distillery has created 33 batches so far.

After a bit of a slow start while finding its feet, The Farmer's Wife gin distillery is certainly off and running now.

Creator Kylie Sepos makes use of a 600 litre copper vat which she sourced in Tasmania, filling between 350 to 400 700ml bottles each batch.

"We definitely have our hands full now," Kylie said.

"Batch 33 of The Farmer's Wife was just completed and I will do another batch soon to keep up with demand.

"We have been distilling the gin since September 2018 and have filled more than 10000 bottles.

"Batching is done nearly year-round with only a six week break from mid-December to February.

"This break is necessary as grapefruits are out of season."

As farmers themselves, Kylie and Gavin are proud to support the Buy A Bale campaign.

"Every bottle of gin we sell, we donate a dollar," Kylie said.

"So far we have donated more than $10000 to the campaign."

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