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Unexpected Guest Gin's mobile distillery
Photograph: Supplied/Unexpected Guest Distillery

Australia just scored its very first mobile gin distillery – and it's now touring NSW

Unexpected Guest Gin has converted a Kombi ute into a fabulous, four-wheeled, gin-making machine

Maxim Boon

Sure, you’ve probably ordered a bottle of gin or even a gin cocktail to be delivered to your door. But what about the whole damn distillery?

The duo behind Unexpected Guest Gin spent their 2020 downtime by taking a pair of 50-litre copper stills and bolting them to the back of a classic, tangerine orange, 1972 Kombi ute to create Australia’s first mobile gin distillery. Now, co-founders Jamie Maslen and Jane Owen are ready to take this marvellous contraption on the road, all over NSW. 

This grass-roots gin company was set to launch as a conventional distillery in March. However, the great undoing that was 2020 threw a spanner in the works of those plans. Rather than admitting defeat, Maslen and Owen decided to take aim in a gap in the market by creating an entirely portable gin-making experience for weddings, parties and corporate clients. Using a selection of Australian-grown botanicals, they can create an entirely bespoke gin on demand, that you can bottle and personalise with your very own labels. The experience includes a full demonstration of the gin-making process, complete with tastings – and in less than two hours you can be sipping on your very own gin.

Like any distillers worth their salt in 2020, Unexpected Guest also sells its own hand sanitiser, as well as four varieties of bottled gin: Bobby’s London Dry Gin; Disco Flamingo’s Pink Gin; Clementine’s American Gin and Young Tom’s Bathtub Gin, all available from the Unexpected Guest Gin's online store

Beware, though, that it ain't cheap. Private hire of the mobile gin experience for six hours starts from $5,800 – but you'll produce a whopping 40 litres of tailor-made gin (or the equivalent of 80 bottles). There’s also an abridged version, costing $3,200, where you’ll snag 20 litres of gin. Custom packages are also negotiable.

In search of gin closer to home? Check out the new Four Pillars Gin Lab in Surry Hills.

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