Nick and Ally were on the highway on their way back from showcasing at a gin festival in Melbourne, when both of their phones started going off with texts. It was November and the first set of fires in the Blue Mountains were only 1km away from their distillery. They were distinguished quickly. But the fires that started soon after in the Gosper Mountains with nothing but bushland in between them, Nick and Ally had to wait and watch to see if the wind was going to change to their direction. The threat kept growing every day. Smoke blocked out the sun, choking the native botanicals grown on site for their gins. The fire rating was catastrophic for most days. Events were cancelled, production stopped. As the fires got closer, they moved rum barrels elsewhere and housed their stills at a friend’s place for safe-keeping.
There is an abundance of local wildlife on their property including rare black cockatoos who feast on the ‘mountain devil’ native flowers, unique to the region known as the ‘Devil’s Wilderness’. Passing by Koala call the property home from time to time and a big concern over the bushfire period was how to assist them if we needed to evacuate.” It was the RFS volunteers who spent Christmas Day burning containment lines around the distillery who saved them, as well as an ancient pine forest in Lower Grose Valley at the foot of the property.
When Nick and Ally first threw in their jobs and poured everything they had into creating Karu, they knew they were onto something. They entered their first batch into the San Francisco Gin Awards for an expert opinion, and they soon got it - in the form of a Double Gold medal, all within their first six months. Now, three years later and eight months on from the fires, Nick and Ally continue their work to produce contemporary gin that proudly displays the flavours of Australian botanicals. They have experienced setbacks from circumstances outside of their control and now they are channeling this into finessing their core range of products, aspiring to have a gin brand that’s synonymous with Australia.