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Sunday 16 August 2015

How an artisan Australian gin made the world sit up and take notice

Stuart Gregor doesn't like to be reminded about it, but more years ago than either of us care to remember I was a feature writer on the Sydney Daily Telegraph and he was my copy boy - excellent at getting cups of coffee and fetching old newspaper clippings. 

The ebullient Stuart Gregor 

He was smart as a whip even then. 

And, of course, Stuart has had the last laugh. While I'm still batting away as a journalist he has created one of Australia's most successful public relations companies, Liquid Ideas, with a staff of over 25 go getters.

He's also a successful entrepreneur, having enjoyed success with the Donny Goodmac wine brand and as one of the founders of Four Pillars Gin, which has taken the premium liquor segment by storm. 

As you read this the Four Pillars distillery and tasting facility will be up and running at Healesville in the Yarra Valley, the latest attraction in a rapidly developing gourmet destination. It is open Thursday-Monday 10.30am-5.30pm. Negronis all round. 

Four Pillars has branched out 
The first Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin was only released in 2013 but the brand has attracted immense attention and is a staple in hipster bars wherever negronis are served.

The first gin was "made in a truly modern Australian style which captures Asian spice, Mediterranean citrus and some native Australian botanicals". 

The Four Pillars gins are distilled in a specially-made German still which produces batches of just 460 bottles a time. But it works. At last year's San Francisco World Spirits competition, Four Pillars won double medals.

In mid 2014 Stuart and his partners Cam Mackenzie and Matt Jones released their first Barrel Aged Gin and their latest baby is a Navy Strength Gin which, at 58.8% ABV, packs a real punch. 
Distiller Cameron McKenzie 
Four Pillars are making some associated products (including an Orange Marmalade and Breakfast Negroni). A great Australian success story. For details visit 

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