James Greig, founder of Wildflower Gin describes the distillery as a hobby that kind of got out of hand. As hobbies go, we applaud the choice. If you’re going to let it get out of hand and turn into a cracking new distillery, well we can get behind that too.
The hobby had been building and ‘getting out of hand’ for a number of years in NZ, before James brought the whole show over to the Gold Coast where he’s based. As a well established tech entrepreneur James isn’t a stranger to the hospitality side of the industry. One of his software services Iivy, is used widely used by venues around the world to manage their events and bookings, including the likes of Treasure Island and Twickenham Stadium.
Impressive stuff and you’d expect that a client list as broad as Iivy’s would do wonders for a start-up distillery from the Gold Coast… unless your approvals arrive just as a pandemic tears its way around the world. It’s no secret that one of the hardest hit industries as a result of Covid 19, has been the hospitality sector.
The spreading impact of our favourite industry, has been that many of our favourite craft distilleries have also been hurt by the shutdown. Bars, restaurants and hotels that were a key outlet for craft producers are only just taking steps to cautiously reopen.
Craft distilleries like Wildflower had to scramble to rework their distribution and sales models to keep getting their product into the hands of thirsty customers. Many proved to be a huge benefit to plug the gap for healthcare, business and consumer sectors around this time. Craft distillers were called on to switch their capability to the production of sanitiser, when traditional suppliers were left struggling to keep up with demand.
Wildflower was no exception and instead of the production of drinkable product, produced sanitiser for a 6 week period, satisfying demand for over 3,500 orders. This meant not only was Wildflower a viable business from day one, but James was also able to redeploy some of his previously furloughed staff at his tech business to assist with fulfilment. If you ever needed a case study for why this industry should be supported to grow, this would have to be it!
Having played their part in keeping us safe and healthy, Wildflower were able to refocus their effort on their first gin release. Having built a healthy database of Gold Coast locals through sanitiser supply, it’s been gratifying for James to see these same locals support the release of their signature gin.
The support has been so strong that between Gin Lane and local purchases, Wildflower is coming close to running out of their first batch of those stunning custom bottles. Considering these come all the way from France, you may find it a struggle to get your hands on a replacement for a little while!
As things open up, distilleries are beginning to welcome visitors back and we can’t stress strongly enough, how much it would mean to them for you to make a visit. Wildflower are currently welcoming visitors for bottle pick ups and hope to be offering classes and tastings as restrictions ease even further.
Naturally they have plans for future releases, including whisky, which we will be first in line to get our hands on. We’re delighted to see Wildflower added to the scene, especially in Qld where craft distillers have typically had a harder time launching than most.