After experiencing some of the heaviest biodiversity losses in the country during last summer's tragic bushfire disaster, South Australia's Kangaroo Island is showing signs of renewal despite suffering such widespread devastation.
The local production room and cellar door of Kangaroo Island Spirits by the Cygnet River is set to get a $3 million upgrade, which aims to bring in more visitors to visit the diverse, naturally stunning scenery of the area. The upgrade will include the creation of a functioning distillery, where Kangaroo Island Spirits gin, vodka and single malt whiskey will be made using three stills. An expert tasting space designed to hold masterclasses as well as private events such as weddings, corporate bookings and group tastings will overlook it. The existing cellar door will be upgraded to focus on serving locally sourced spirits and cocktails with ingredients found in the native botanical garden, like juniper, coastal daisy bush, anise myrtle and lemon myrtle, to add a local signature to Kangaroo Island Spirits' products. The development is expected to be complete in the spring of 2021.
Kangaroo Island Distillery has been a fixture of the flourishing fine food and drink scene on the island since 2004, when it was founded by Jon and Sarah Lark. What began as a little shed out in the Island's bush grew in reputation to become an internationally-awarded gin maker, including 'Best Contemporary Gin' at London's International Wine and Spirits Competition. Founders First acquired it in March this year, but the Larks remain at its helm.
While these proposals signal exciting things for the future of the island, there's likely even more to come. Overnight accommodation is being floated as a future part of Kangaroo Island Distillery's offering, as well as a dedicated kitchen to serve patrons as they sip their way through the region's delicious wares. It's promising news for the island's residents, who have not only been contending with post-bushfire recovery efforts but also the impacts of lockdown restrictions, which continue to prevent the usual influx of interstate travellers, at least for the time being.