We love discovering the many ways our favourite distillers come to find themselves in the gin making business. For father and daughter team, Simon and Brogan Carr, it was a conversation around the family dinner table about ‘dream jobs’ that sparked the idea for Brogan’s Way.
A qualified engineer, Simon decided it was time to quit his executive role in the automative industry, to follow his long-held dream of producing booze. Originally wanting to make wine, Simon switched to the idea of distilling after catching the gin bug.
“I went back to school and started studying distilling and around the same time Brogan decided she also wanted a career change,” Simon tells us.
As a young science graduate, not quite content to settle in the medical lab where she was working, Brogan decided distilling would be a good way of blending creativity with her precise and investigative nature.
So, after retraining and obtaining a Master of Science and Distilling, Brogan swapped labs for distilleries and – just quietly – we think she made the right choice!
Setting up their distillery and bar in a former mechanics workshop in Richmond, Brogan’s Way launched in 2018. “It was pretty clear early on that Brogan was much better at making gin than I was,” says Simon. “It’s why we called ourselves Brogan’s Way.” It’s also why he’s more in charge of the business side of things, leaving Brogan to concentrate on honing her craft.
Their first gin, Everyday Salvation is an Australian dry style gin that’s versatile, juniper forward and easily recognisable as a gin. Their second, Evening Light, is a bit of a pleasant surprise for traditional gin lovers. Fragrant, fruity and floral, with heavy hits of rose, lavender, mango, river mint and strawberry – it’s not your typical gin. Here at Gin Lane we’re not into typical gin either. That’s why this month we’re excited to bring some Evening Light to you, just in time for the start of those long summer days.
Distilling down to an exact science
Like all passionate distillers we know, getting things exactly right is important to Simon and Brogan. It’s why they travelled the world, visiting 30 different distilleries in search of the perfect still. Eventually they chose a handcrafted copper still from Carl GmbH in Germany, having it custom made for Brogan’s height with a modified design allowing her to extract exact flavours.
Named after Brogan’s mother, “Gilly” is the still that Brogan uses to refine her recipes. In the initial testing stages for their flagship gins, Everyday Salvation, Evening Light and Royal Blood, Brogan tells us they called on a panel of trusted industry experts to blind taste each batch of gin.
“We had a really clear idea of what we wanted the gin to taste like but we didn’t tell the panel. We compared their notes and I altered the recipe each time to get it closer and closer to what we were after until it finally matched,” says Brogan.
All up we discovered that testing process took roughly 30 times to perfect each gin. Brogan drew on her science background to individually analyse the chemical makeup of each ingredient and determine the changes to be made. In this way, you could say they have their flavour combinations down to an exact science!
Reaping rewards & awards
The process has paid off with the pair winning local and international awards as early as a year after launching.
Brogan’s Way picked up a silver medal for their navy strength gin, Royal Blood and a bronze for Evening Light and Everyday Salvation at last year’s Australian Gin Awards. Not long after they went on to win gold for Royal Blood and bronze for Evening Light and Everyday Salvation at the Australian Distilled Spirit Awards.
This year their warm spice flavoured gin, Hearts Afire and Royal Blood were awarded silver medals at the London Spirits Competition, while both also received silver at the International Wine and Spirits Competition. And having entered more competitions recently, we can’t wait to see what the team will be taking home next!
But awards aren’t the only reward for the distillers. As well as being welcomed and supported by some of the country’s best in the craft distilling community, Brogan says the real joy for them is being able to bring people together and connect in a spirited way – Brogan’s Way.