David Scott and Susie Snodgrass were granted a Vigneron’s Licence in 2000 and began producing wines made from fruits other than grapes, in The Good Food Shop, Bellingen. The opportunity to purchase a large double brick building in Dorrigo initiated the move of the winery in 2004. Always keen to do something unique and special, they obtained a Manufacturer Producer Licencein 2007 and commenced distillation of excisable product. At that time they were number 16 in Australia, in terms of holding a distiller’s licence. The business became known as Red Dirt Distillery, then producing Australia’s only Potato Vodka from the famous red dirt Sebago potatoes from the Dorrigo Plateau.
With a rapid increase in their business, a decision was made to transfer the business to larger premises in Glen Innes in early 2017. This also was prompted by the desire to ‘come home’, David’s family have been in the Glen Innes district for 5 generations.
We have always used local, regional and Australian produce wherever possible. This has been continued following the move to Glen Innes. Premium local and regional fruits and potatoes have always been sourced directly from growers, to produce our products. The potatoes are coming from a property near David’s family farms of the past. Being pioneers in the Vodka, Gin and Liqueurs movement of recent times, all the research and development of our product is based on our own research findings. David’s background as a Plant Pathologist and Microbiologist has been invaluable in crafting superb products over the 17 years of our association with the liquor industry.
Fermentation and storage of our various wines occurs in 200L or 400L stainless steel variable capacity tanks, which are sealed with a stainless steel lid and air lock. This small scale production can be easily handled by the two of us, keeping the whole process very ‘hands on’ and entirely our own. Fermentation and clarification of the ‘must’ typically takes six to eight weeks, using specialty yeasts and ‘state of the art’, but small scale, production systems.
The distillation is undertaken with a column still in small batch runs. This allows the spirit to be closely monitored for the performance of the unit, and the quality of the spirit produced. Following the production of spirit, the production of liqueurs is undertaken in glass and all flavours and colours are intrinsic to the raw material. No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives are ever added to any of our products.
The name Glen Gowrie Distillery, and the thistle emblem, come from the original 1887 subdivision of “Gowrie”. The marble name plate on the homestead had thistle emblems at each end. We are very excited at the prospect of growing our business within the New England Food and Wine Trail. After nearly 30 years in the food industry and 17 years in the liquor industry it is very exciting to finally be where we call home, doing what we love, and loving what we do!