Adelaide Hills-based Ambleside Distillers has opened the doors to its brand-new expanded space, significantly increasing its production capacity and boosting the visitor experience.
With its gin collection loved by fans and winning awards and critical kudos, the expansion allows the family-owned company to begin its planned diversification into other spirits, beginning with the installation of a 1250 litre whisky still in the new distillery.
As the first (and to date, only) distillery in Hahndorf, Ambleside has been a destination for lovers of gin and good times since it launched in 2016, but it wasn’t long before it outgrew the existing premises.
Owners the Dickson family were focused on creating a new venue that is eco-friendly, aesthetically inviting, and crucially can meet demand for the volume of visitors wanting to relax and have some fun over a gin and tonic or a cocktail in a beautiful setting. Capacity for the bar
area has been increased by a third, meaning more guests can book in for an afternoon at the bar, a tasting flight or blending masterclass, plus there’ll be more space for walk-ins.
The new production area has been increased eight-fold to 200 sq metres, not only to factor in the new whisky still but to incorporate a new gin still (970 litres) in addition to the existing one (280 litres). It’s anticipated that Ambleside whisky will be ready for release in around three years, with production of other spirits also in the pipeline.
The Adelaide Hills is renowned globally for its ‘clean, green’ reputation, and this was a key driver for the family in the decision-making for the expansion.
There are 90 solar panels to reduce carbon footprint and off-set power usage from the distilling process and a facility for waste segregation to minimise landfill contribution.
Plus the growth will triple the span of the botanical gardens so that more ingredients for distilling and for the tasting bar can be sourced right on site. Not only does this mean the drinks perfectly reflect the soil and climate of the Adelaide Hills but further lessens carbon footprint due to reduced requirement to source and transport ingredients from elsewhere.
“We are overwhelmed by the support and love from the community seeing people curious as to when the build will complete. We’re so excited to be able to host more people so that everyone can see the effort and passion we put into our spirits and the world of Ambleside,” said Matt Dickson, from Ambleside Distillers.
“We’ll be able to offer more one-of-a-kind, sensory experiences that go beyond a quick tasting, and allow visitors to get up close and personal to the people behind our brand and feel a part of the Ambleside family.”
The expansion was supported by investment from a South Australian Tourism Commission Tourism Industry Development Fund. Ambleside is owned and operated by Matt Dickson, along with his parents, Trudy and Steve Dickson.
Prior to the launch of Ambleside, Matt was a qualified builder and project-managed the entire renovation over the ten-month process, blending this experience with his day-to-day knowledge of how the distillery operates.
“I’ve always had a love for whisky and am really excited for this next chapter,” Dickson said.
“With the addition of a new still and increased space, we’ll be ramping up our whisky production over the next three years. We have a range of single malts on the way, an everyday whisky – one I’m personally looking forward to – and some special release casks.
“In the meantime, we’re focused 100% on growing our expanding spirits portfolio; building our brand and ensuring we remain one of the most innovative players in the spirits industry in South Australia, with the goal of becoming one of the premier producers in the country.”