indiginous gin is the passionate adventure of good mates Simon Wilson and Chris Charteris. After 2 years of experimenting and scheming (and a bit of drinking) we have established our distillery on the site of the original Tuatara Brewery in the Reikorangi Valley on the Kapiti Coast in New Zealand. In the shadow of greatness, we are focussed on creating gin which delights those who drink it by delivering a smoothness and clarity of flavour that says, quite simply and honestly, 'THIS IS REALLY GOOD GIN'. Not flavoured vodka. Not some wannabee spirit that's seen a few juniper berries and some rare native bush plant extract that doesn't really smell like or taste like gin... in a really expensive bottle inside a really expensive box. No, that's not us. We ferment our own alcohol and distill in an 8 plate fractionating column still. The secret to our flavour profile comes from the yeast we use in fermentation and the balance of botanicals in distillation. We distill gin with a nose that says 'gin', loudly and clearly, and which makes a clear flavour statement served straight up as well as when served with tonic. And what's the 'indiginous' bit about? We do plan on this being a fun adventure, and we will be creating blends that showcase the different taste elements of the botanicals in our gins. We plan on travelling to the places that are the traditional homes of those ingredients and becoming a bit more familiar with them, as well as with the locals. Those places and people will be expressed on our bottles through the indigenous art of the places where our ingredients are sourced. We hope you'll enjoy drinking indiginous (responsibly of course) as much as we're enjoying making it. This, is our dream.
Rain from Ranginui, the sky father, passes through one of his many children, Tawhirimatea, the weather god. Here the rain falls through the mangopare motif which represents strength, leadership, agility, tenacity, determination, courage and wealth. On a small hilltop next to our distillery stands a 300,000 litre rainwater tank which feeds into the distillery. We charcoal filter the rainwater and it is the purest tasting water any of us has ever drunk.
Manuka is a legendary New Zealand plant, a member of the myrtle family, made famous by the manuka honey and claims of it's antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Manuka is steam distilled to extract the essential oil and manuka hydrosol is the water that remains as a result of that process. We micro-filter the hydrosol and add a small (secret) amount to the gin.
Juniper berries are in fact not berries at all, but seed cones from several species of conifer. Juniper is the essential ingredient in gin - it cannot be called gin without juniper. In fact the very word 'gin' derives from the french word genievre or the dutch jenever, both meaning juniper.
This is a representation of the native New Zealand bird, the tui, as a mania, a creature from Maori mythology. Because of their busy and charming personality, tui are associated with life fulfilment, confidence and spiritual harmony and have powerful significance in Maori culture. The manaia is said to have the head of a bird, the body of a human and the tail of a fish - representing sky, earth and ocean - and act as messengers to the heavens. It is a spiritual guardian and protector. Tui are often present in the bush surrounding our distillery.
The tuatara is a reptile endemic to New Zealand and is the sole surviving member of it's order which flourished around 200 million years ago. Tuatara are of great cultural significance to Maori and strongly feature in some creation stories. Some iwi (Maori tribes) view tuatara as the kaitiaki or guardiands, of knowledge. The tuatara here pays homage to what happened in our distillery before we arrived - it was the birthplace of New Zealand's most famous craft brewery, Tuatara.
Kapiti Island is the dominant geological feature of our region. A bird sanctuary since 1897, the predator free island is home to some of New Zealand and the planet's most endangered birds. The dot work and meeting spiral koru (representing new life and growth) show the relationship between the ocean and the land and where the river meets the sea. The island has a very powerful presence in our lives.
The koru, a stylised representation of our native silver fern, the one the All Blacks wear, stands for new life, growth and learning. Here the multiple koru represent our new business, the journey ahead, the people we will meet, the hurdles we will encounter and the opportunities that are in front of us.