In 2010, Jeff and Phillip's passion for distilling was born and they started looking at ways that they could open their own distillery. It was a BIG dream. They went about their day jobs, Jeff being an Arborist/Welder and Phillip a truckers offsider, whilst trying to make their dream become a reality.
In Feb 2012, Jeff and his wife Liane, moved from Sydney NSW to Bridport TAS and Phillip and his wife Paige, followed in Nov 2012.
Both men set about making a living in a new place to support their families all the while, their passion and dream grew. They started looking at properties that could become a distillery. In 2015, Jeff and Liane sold the family home in NSW and purchased a property in Kelso TAS which was to become the home of Darby-Norris Distillery. That same year, Jeff travelled to Scotland, Ireland and England, visiting the distilleries in the heart of the Whiskey Trail.
Meanwhile, Phillip was at home in Tasmania, supervising and building the distillery from the ground up with the help of family. With bad weather dominating the area, progress was slow. In 2017, the distillery was finished. Jeff and Phillip built the first copper still, Tinkabell, that is still used today for spirit runs. They then applied for their Manufacturing Licence and this was granted in Oct 2017 but it would be another 10 months before they were to release their first product, our Valley Gin. Since 2017, Darby-Norris Distillery has been working on becoming the Premier Distillery in the Central North of Tasmania. What started out as a hobby has now become our passion and we're delighted to share it with you. Our love for our craft drives who we are and what we do. August 2018.... we released our first product, our contemporary Valley Gin. After very encouraging words in our blind tastings, we were happy with the product we had produced and FINALLY released it to the public with much
in-trepidation.... how would people like it?
In November 2018 we decided to showcase our Gin at Hobart's very own Gin-uary in January 2019. We created some specialty gins for the occasion, packed the car and we travelled to Hobart to take part along with other Tasmanian distilleries to showcase our products, including (unknown to us at this point), our Valley Gin that was destined to become our Gold Medal winner. What a fun-packed day it was with over 800 people in attendance to sample the wares of Tasmanian Distilleries. The feedback was fantastic, matter of fact we sold out of every bottle we took with us!!! the term "ran off your feet" certainly fitted this exciting day.
At the end of 2018, we entered our Valley Gin into the Australian Gin Awards to be held in conjunction with Sydney Gin Palooza. After all the feedback we had received, we were hoping to win a medal however, as a new product, we thought Bronze... maybe?? On checking the posted results on March 8th, we were PLEASANTLY surprised and extremely humbled to see that we had won a GOLD MEDAL. In January 2019 we entered our Navy Strength Gin in the Tasting Australia Spirit Awards in Adelaide and once again we were pleasantly surprised...we won a Bronze Medal!!!!!
We knew we had good products but these endorsements reinforced our belief and were priceless. These wins demonstrate the Darby-Norris Distillery commitment to producing nothing but quality spirits at a reasonable price.
Handmade. Every. Single. Day.