Business South August 2022

106 | HOSPITALITY No8 Distillery “It was very surprising. We are very grateful, it’s pretty amazing to win these awards.” Russell Fredric Distillery wins big at World Gin Awards No8 Distillery co-founder Julien Delavoie offers tastings, workshops and ‘foraging journey’ tours. The founders of Dunedin’s No8 Distillery are clearly men of a different spirit. The distillery has quickly emerged at the forefront of a new wave of boutique gin and liqueur producers in New Zealand having been recognised by an astonishing 18 awards during the past year. Co-founded by French born Julien Delavoie and Kiwi Michael Wilson, No8 Distillery won seven awards this year, half of which came from international competitions; equally incredible is that the distillery was birthed just two years ago. In this year’s World Gin Awards, No8 distillery won the Best in Country award in the Contemporary Style Gin category for its No8 Horopito Gin, also gaining a bronze for its Dunners Dry Gin. At the London Spirit Awards its Pineapple Rum won silver and their Absinthe, an anise-flavoured spirit, won bronze. No8’s unique chocolate and coffee-influenced Moka Gin 37% won silver in this year’s New Zealand Spirits Awards, while several other labels attracted a range of national silver awards. Julien’s joie de vivre following the most recent accolades is almost palpable. “It was very surprising. We are very grateful, it’s pretty amazing to win these awards.” For the past two years the distillery, with its shiny copper still has been operating in a prominent part of Moray Place cafe Dog With Two Tails. Julien and Michael, who has moved to Canada, both brought their own culinary and speciality food backgrounds to create the unique flavours and aromas of No8 Distillery’s offerings. For Julien, different spirits suit different moods; he crafts spirits to be full of flavour and to appeal to different states of mind. “The Horopito Gin works well when you’re feeling extroverted and our Hibiscus Gin is the one to give you a hug,” he says. Despite how new the distillery is, Julien’s craft and knowledge has been four generations in the making. His family come from Deauville, Normandy. They have distilled Calvados, an apple spirits speciality of the region, since 1910. Having grown up among this family distillation tradition, Julien and has been making rum since the age of 15. Juniper berries, the basis of all true gin, are sourced from Macedonia, but Julien and Michael have added their own local twists regarding the source of other natural ingredients. “We forage botanics in Dunedin for each spirit.” The process of gin making involves macerating the plant material and three stages of distillation. The existing still can process 70 to 90 litres for each batch, but a larger one has been ordered in order to keep up with demand. The success of the business has also prompted moving to a temporary location for a year as a transition to Julien’s ultimate goal; he aims to establish New Zealand’s first eco distillery with a focus on self-sustainability and is looking for investors to step up. Currently No8’s bottles can be refilled and swapped, labels use eco paper and it has a zero waste policy. As well as showcasing the still and the distillation process in the cafe, Julien offers tastings, workshops and “foraging journey” tours. The business also has a website. “Education is the most important thing for us and for me. There’s quite a lot of interaction and talking about how we produce.”