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Big River Distilling Co. (Canberra)

Established in 2017, Big River Distilling Co. is sited near the confluence of the Molonglo River and Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra. We create artisan spirits of uncompromising quality using ingredients from Australia and afar.

Distilling is an exact science, combining flavours and inspiration. Curious and independent, we are guided but not bound by tradition.  We create spirits that reflect the unique Canberra environs.  They enliven your senses and evoke a sense of time and space.

Our gin is produced using a 420 L stainless-steel pot still fitted with a copper botanical basket in a “single -shot” distillation.  Neutral grain spirit (from a wheat based feedstock) of the highest purity (96.0% ABV or higher) is used as the base to ensure the botanical flavours are not muddied by any dirty spirit character.  This spirit is cut back with filtered, beautiful Canberra water and 10 different botanicals are added to the pot for a short maceration.

The remaining 3 botanical ingredients are placed in the botanical basket, out of the way of the direct heat source.  This technique is called vapour infusion and preserves the more delicate high-notes in the gin, such as the floral character of the hops.  The distiller then makes a heads and tails cut, by nose, keeping only the middle fraction of the distillate, known as the hearts.  The 14th and final ingredient, Lebanese cucumber, is added after distillation. Following a few weeks rest to allow for flavour reformation, the gin is bottled at its designated strength.

Clyde Morton has concentrated his life’s work, interests and inspiration to deliver you artisan spirits like no other. As Founder/ Chief Beverage Engineer Clyde has:
• A highly developed palate (ten years as a winemaker will help).
• A formidable interest in Australian and plants of the world (that course in botany has come in handy).
• A fundamental understanding of the distillation process & the science of flavour (four science degrees provides a great background).
• Creativity (a will to experiment and innovate).
• Dogged determinedness (will help when completing all the forms and licences required to get you going).
• A post-doc in nuclear physics (not absolutely essential but if you have ever wondered when drinking a G & T on a summer’s afternoon what the chances of an upwardly travelling muon colliding with the earth beneath your deck, Clyde can help with the calculation).
• A business and life partner (Susan, who keeps Clyde grounded, laughs at his jokes and tests out his creations).

The label for our first gin has been created by Canberra artist George Rose.  Known for her street mural art her large-scale design has been re-interpreted for a gin label with the assistance of graphic designer George Mackintosh.