The husband and wife team behind Seppeltsfield Road Distillers (SRD), Nicole and Jon Durdin are a driven pair. Despite only launching in September last year, their upcoming schedule has us feeling tired just thinking about it.
A recent launch into New Zealand, Junipalooza London in June, possible European expansion shortly after…these are just some of the things they’ve added to an already pretty full plate!
But we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, because this is a project that’s already several years in the making. Nicole was a police office and is a professional classical musician, while Jon comes from a corporate finance background…all careers which lead you to drink according to Nicole!
While the couple were living in Winchester in the UK where Jon’s work had taken him, Nicole was struggling to find the work that she was after. 12 months of hitting a brick wall and it was time for Nicole to make a change.
As a 7th generation ‘Barrossan’, Nicole and Jon’s plans had always been to come back to the Barossa to settle. The big question was what work would allow them the lifestyle they could enjoy together in the long term. Some of the obvious choices in the wine industry didn’t grab them, they wanted something less seasonal to focus on.
As it turns out a throwaway comment from Jon kicked off this incredible journey. ‘I think you should make gin.’ After one of those double takes where neither person knows quite where the comment came from, it soon became clear a seed had been planted.
Nicole confesses that at that point she knew next to nothing about gin, but as a couple who ‘don’t do anything by halves’, they started the ball rolling immediately.
With their first anniversary (paper) soon after this first discussion, we can’t think of a better present to themselves than the books about gin they purchased to celebrate. Less than a year later (February 2016) Nicole was flying back to the Barossa to sign the contract on their block of land for the new distillery site.
Fast forward through council approval and building phases – something we’re sure every distiller wishes they could do – Seppeltsfield Rd Distillers opened for business in September last year, 2018.
The distillery itself is striking in its design and was something they put a lot of time into designing specifically to stand out in a region with some of the best wineries in the world. Christine, their 180 litre still from Germany’s oldest maker Carl sits centre stage as you approach the distillery. Visitors are able to see into the heart of the distilling process at SRD, thanks to the glass box it sits in. Nicole was keen for people to be able to see all aspects of the process and connect in a way that isn’t always possible.
The distillery houses a tasting room where you can enjoy a gin flight or begin a tour of the distillery (bookings only). While the focus in the Barossa is rightly on it’s superb wineries, SRD are already becoming a must visit stop on many people’s tours.
What we’ve been immediately struck by in speaking with Nicole and Jon is the intricate business focus they’ve brought to this venture. Nicole rightly points out that Jon’s finance background has proved invaluable in aspects of setting the business up for the future.
With Nicole at the helm of the distilling operation knocking out these fantastic gins, we have no doubt that we’ll be hearing much more of Seppeltsfield Road Distillers into the future.