Sandymount Distillery owner on how he turned a hobby into a business
Brewing & Distilling
Brewing & Distilling

Sandymount Distillery owner on how he turned a hobby into a business

Richard Wilson, the owner of Sandymount Distillery in Dunedin, New Zealand, discussed his journey from hobby distilling to running a commercial venture with REX host Dom George. 

He detailed the intricacies of creating a variety of spirits, including gin, whiskey, brandy, vermouth, and maro liqueur, and emphasised the significance of local ingredients and the crucial role of water in distilling. 

"Water is such a huge factor and we're all receiving... groundwater to begin with is a benefit, the minerality of that's changing all the time... it's making up, well in the spirit, 60 odd percent of your product and it's a really big factor," he said.

He proudly discussed Sandymount Distillery's achievement of becoming New Zealand's first carbon-neutral distillery. They further delved into the growing popularity of craft spirits, particularly gin, in New Zealand. 

Wilson attributed this to a law change in the UK that allowed micro-distilleries to enter the market, thus triggering a global trend. He also addressed the ease of entering the market for hobby distilleries, the importance of compliance for survival, and the challenges of managing over 200 stockists nationwide. 

"The direct customer retail via online is definitely a growing space." 

Wilson reflected on his business's growth with minimal advertising, proving that environmentally conscious decisions can also be good for business. 

He shared an example of a nationwide customer whose first order covered the cost of his certification to become carbon-neutral. 

"There is a lot of commercial sense in doing this... not just for the carbon consciousness." The hosts conclude the podcast by thanking Wilson for his insights and wishing him luck for the busy season ahead.

Listen to the full chat between Richard Wilson and Dominic George above.

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