Want to know where the produce we use comes from? In this series of ‘Meet the Producer’ posts, we’ll introduce you to some of our favourite local suppliers… Plus, we’ll be showcasing Tintenbar Distillery at our upcoming Producer’s Plate dinner on Friday 16th August. CLICK HERE FOR MORE.
Ask Rob and Bek what they make at Tintenbar Distillery, and they’ll tell you they “make fun drinky things”.
Things like Sour Mash Rye Whiskey, Heritage Corn Whiskey, Spiced Cachaça, seasonal fruit infusions, bitters, specialty vodkas, and copper alembic botanical creations like gin. “Ultimately we like making fun stuff for people to enjoy,” says Rob.
The husband-and-wife team behind Tintenbar Distillery run a small family farm, just outside Tintenbar, that’s had organic certification for over 25 years. It’s here that they’ve taken their mission to “plant, grow, harvest and share” and turned it into a sustainable business. “About 10 years ago, we were looking for ways to increase the shelf life of our farm produce and began some experiments with distilling and fermenting in our kitchen,” explains Rob. “We created some serious funk but also some magic! And between us, with me in charge of the brewing and distilling, and Bek being a graphic designer and artist, we started experimenting with product ideas. After we got rolling with our initial liquor licence we teamed up with our friend Old Greg (as we affectionately called him), another mad distiller, to create Tintenbar Distillery in 2016. Old Greg unexpectedly and sadly passed away last year, but will always remain a part of our story.”
Since then, the whole family – including Rob and Bek’s three kids – has been involved in the production of everything from cultivation, harvest, fermenting, distilling, design, poetry, bottling and labelling. “We do everything more or less by hand. We are a genuinely craft operation, and we are grateful to the local businesses who support us and our product – especially the super limited batches of experimental stuff,” says Rob. “We like working hard, but also enjoy music, art, food, timber, fires, creeks, ocean, community, and our products are an extension of our farming life. Anything we don’t like usually turns into an archery target.”
Rob and Bek are constantly adapting to remain sustainable, with a regenerative agriculture approach. Their aim is to grow everything on their farm that they then ferment, distill and infuse in their shed. They use their own fresh spring water for all parts of the process. “We are bona fide small batch. Some of the things we have created have only been available in a batch of less than 20 bottles or jars,” Rob explains.
But if they’ve learned one thing, it’s this: “Despite Rob being the eternal optimist, and no matter how many times we try, the fermentation and distillation of pumpkins, ripe avocados and custard apples is truly disgusting…”
Rob’s top tip for drinking spirits…
Tintenbar’s products are designed to be consumed neat. “Sometimes less is more,” says Rob, who suggests this recipe…
Put 60ml of Kumquat May in your favourite glass over two ice cubes.
Sit in an old comfy chair and ponder the meaning of life with a friend or two.
Enjoy the liquid marmalade sensation and the warm fuzzy feeling it evokes.
Go the extra distance and enjoy with a slice of hot buttered toast.