What were your backgrounds prior to starting Hastings Distillers?
We had both spent many years in the wine industry, which is how we met, and we continue to work in the background in the wine industry through consultancy roles. Prior to the wine industry, Kate had worked in a number of countries as a cook; I was born into the wine world. The Hawkes Bay area is obviously famous for wine.
What was it about spirits that made you see an opportunity to do something special with them?
A number of things. Hastings is known as the fruit bowl of New Zealand so it seems an apt place to be distilling, not only gin but eau de vie and other liqueurs. We also have a long held interest in biodynamics. Great things grow here - the region is hugely diverse in terms of its macro and micro climate. Because of our time in the wine industry, we have gained a good understanding of the different regions which helps in sourcing the botanicals for our products. Hawkes Bay is the cradle of the Rudolf Steiner community, encompassing art, medicine, agriculture and schooling - so for many reasons, it’s a great place to be.
What makes your distillation process unique, and how does it affect the final product?
As we were both relatively new to gin making, we had to start from scratch. We have developed a unique, very personal way of distilling which is not necessarily how others do it. Everything we use is organic or biodynamic. We grow most of the botanicals ourselves and others are sourced from family friends so we know the provenance of everything we are using. We also are able to harvest fresh, which makes a huge difference. We have a bespoke still made by top German still-makers Arnold Holstein and we use our knowledge and wine industry-trained palates to create our products.