By Vivienne Pearson
Lord Byron would be proud. His namesake distillery has rocked the awards scene in their first year of operation.
But first, to avoid your having to pause reading this story in order to fire off an email to the editor, I would like to assure you that the title of this article isn’t a spelling mistake. Neither is it referring to some weird non-alcoholic version of my favourite drink (like ‘mylk’ for non-dairy versions of milk).
An old Australian law restricts the use of the traditional spelling to rum that has been aged on timber for at least two years. As that’s not possible for a distillery that’s only been open for one year, the French spelling rhum is used.
So, back to the awards. In the London Spirits Competition, Lord Byron Distillery’s silver overproof rhum came second out of 400 entries, an incredible result for a newcomer, especially as both aged and unaged rums were judged together.
Their other award is the coveted International Rum University award called Rum and the Environment (how considerate of them to combine two of my favourite topics in the one award). This was for the distillery’s achievement of being carbon neutral and zero waste, providing a sterling example to others about the value of considering environmental aspects of business right from the start.
Tucked away in the Arts & Industry Estate, the Lord Byron Distillery is open for visits during the afternoons of Tuesday to Saturday. No bookings are needed and there is no cost for a tour. ‘We have a full-time cocktail bartender on staff to help you try our multi-award-winning drinks,’ says co-owner Brian Restall of his family-owned business (when you visit, you’ll likely meet Brian’s brother, Chris, who is the head distiller).
For those who to whip up their own cocktails, you can do a cocktail making masterclass, focused around both rhum and gin.
Or, how’s this for the opportunity to not only try but create a totally unique drink? Gin Blending Classes allow you to select your own choice of botanicals to steep in alcohol and then distil in a micro-still. Add your own label to the bottle and you have a hand-crafted masterpiece to take home (and share with your friends if they are lucky).
‘If you live locally and are looking for something to do, or if you want to show visiting friends an example of artisanal methods using local ingredients, please come visit,’ says Brian.
I’m sure if he were still around, Lord Byron would join me in lifting a glass of rhum to say cheers to that.
Lord Byron Distillery, 7/4 Banksia Drive, Byron Bay. Open 12–5pm, Tuesday–Saturday. www.lordbyrondistillery.com.au. Ph: 8646 4901.
Vivienne Pearson is a freelance writer. In addition to her stories for The Good Life, she has been published by The Sydney Morning Herald, The Saturday Paper, ABC, SBS, and many others. She currently holds a Walkley Grant for Freelance Journalists (writing on the topic of school fundraising). Vivienne also crafts creative content for business and organisations. Find out more at viviennepearson.com.