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Thursday 28 April 2022

Of all the gin joints: Four Pillars expands

There is more to the Yarra Valley than wine. Healesville is also home to one of Australia’s leading small distilleries: Four Pillars.

Four Pillars this week unveiled its $7 million new home in Healesville, seven years after launching in the same town.

The newly expanded Four Pillars has opened its new distillery, gin garden and hospitality experience directly adjacent to its original home on Lilydale Road, Healesville in the heart of the Yarra Valley.

The ambition for what the team at Four Pillars is calling Healesville 2.0 is simple: to set a new benchmark for craft gin distillery experiences worldwide.

The design of the new additional 1000sqm space, by Melbourne’s award-winning and sustainability-led Breathe Architecture, has nearly tripled the capacity for visitors at Four Pillars and includes Jude’s Gin Garden, a multiple event and function areas, a crafted copper bar plus a dedicated Four Pillars Gin Shop featuring rare, limited-release and Healesville-only gins and merchandise.

With support from the Victorian Government, the expanded distillery sees new blending and bottling line facilities, additional storage space, additional car parking and room for a new 2000-litre still due to arrive later in 2022, taking the Four Pillars still inventory to six hand-made, German copper Carl stills.

The additional production and hospitality capacity means Four Pillars will be capable of producing more than one million bottles of gin a year and hosting somewhere between 150-200,000 visitors annually.

To accommodate these increases, up to 30 more full-time local jobs will be created, taking the team to upwards of 150 employees.

The new Four Pillars Healesville 2.0 has an increased capacity of around 300 guests at a time with a range of table, bench, booth and bar-stool seating in Beth’s Bar and Jude’s Gin Garden.

This should mean the end to the frustrating queues that have formed at the front of the distillery most weekends for the past five years.

Jude’s Gin Garden has sliding, floor-to-ceiling windows allowing an al fresco vibe.

In addition to a drinks menu of tasting paddles, classic gin drinks and original cocktails, there’s also a new substantial snack menu designed by Made From Gin Creative chef Matt Wilkinson and his Yarra Valley sidekick, Caro Gray.

The food is focused on local producers as well as the incorporation of Four Pillars’ spent gin botanicals.

Expect duck liver pate with Bloody Shiraz gin jelly; bagels with olive leaf gin-cured salmon and gin-laced potato, zucchini and dill croquettes.

Later in 2022, Healesville 2.0 also plans to open up the Four Pillars Tuck Shop on weekends and public holidays, offering regularly changing, more substantial food specials and a few guest appearances from food friends.

Four Pillars recently announced it was Australia’s first carbon neutral gin business.

Gin will be ‘piped’ directly into the main bar through featured copper pipes to reduce glass waste plus bottled tonic usage will be massively reduced, replaced in the most part by tonic in kegs. These two initiatives alone will see the site save 29 tonnes of glass per year.

he whole site, incorporating the old and new buildings is enclosed by an eye-catching copper ‘veil’ made from 1650 metres of raw copper tubing, giving Healesville a new landmark.

Co-founder and distiller Cameron Mackenzie said: “This has been a true labour of love for so many people and we should especially thank our architects Breathe, builders Neverstop, the local, state and federal governments who have all made a contribution not just to our building but to the whole road and surrounds, and most importantly to my wife Leah, the Four Pillars’ Experience lead, who oversaw the whole two-year project.

“This building will hopefully be one that the local community loves, that Victorians come visit regularly and that gin lovers from around the world feel drawn to when they visit one of the greatest cities in the world, Melbourne.”

Four Pillars Distillery sis at 2 Lilydale Road, Healesville and is open seven days a week. See

Images: Anson Smart 

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