Juniper Distillery ltd

The journey

It all started in 2016 when my son, Austin was having a gap year whilst he was deciding what he was going to do. Demelza, my daughter, was getting ready for her big overseas adventure, which she is still on.

Austin came home from his job as a barista one day and announced he was going to buy a still.

Excellent I said I’ll go you halves, having brewed beer for about 20 years I’d often thought it would be the next logical step.

About 2 weeks later our little 3 litre copper alembic pot still arrived, but what to do with it?

I had the idea to make a Gin Liqueur, not many around, a bit of a novelty, why not give it a shot. Did some research and came up with a Gin recipe I thought would give me a lovely flavour and be that little bit different, then turn that into a liqueur.

First batch was horrible, as were batches 2 – 10, 11 – 20 were getting there and then something clicked and it all came together, my wife, Louize, wanted to try the jinn, as I was now calling it, as she isn’t a fan of sweet beverages, and to my surprise, the jinn was delicious. We started trying it out on friends and they genuinely liked it, and so a germ of an idea to start a micro distillery was born.

So far this process had taken 2 years and I was still using the original 3 litre pot still, time to upgrade, lot’s of reading reviews and looking at company profiles and decided on a 25 litre still made right here in New Zealand, the initial results were encouraging.

More trial and error.

More windscreen wash for the cars.

And then one day, boom, nailed it.

Juniper Jinn was born.

I registered the company, secured the domain and got my custom and excise license, I’m ready to roll, except I forgot about the local council, talk about a brick wall, theirs was so wrapped up in red tape it made the Great Wall of China look small.

2 year of negotiating, and me compromising, the council doesn’t bend.

So more hoops to jump through.

More paperwork to complete.

More fees to pay.

and finally, we reach accord.

Plans locked in; I book the fabulous Warwick Cassidy to do the building work with me as his trusty side kick. Aaron Harris is in the wings ready to run in the power and crash, COVID-19 hits, we’re in lockdown. Everything comes to a screeching halt.

More delays.

Long story long, the build is done, power in, water in, water out, all signed off and the council is happy with the build, what a relief.

All I need to do is apply for my remote license so I can sell my products via the website.

That took another 2 months, but stubborn perseverance paid off.

All the time this was going on, in the background, I was finalizing the little details.

Which bottles to use.

Label design.

Locking in the recipes.

Wax, gaaarrrhh the wax, how to get it right?


How much to charge.

Market sites.

Bank accounts, IRD, GST, TAX, TAX and more TAX.


Then on my 60th birthday I receive notification that my application for a remote licence had been approved, all of a sudden, I’m going, um this is serious now, I’d better get my act together.

Deep breath, reality check, next step.

Last night, 10.02.2021 I put on my first official fermentations to produce my first official run of Jinn, if all goes well, and only one tank was fermenting when I went to work this morning, I will distil it this weekend and have about 100 litres of Overproof Jinn ready to play with, the future is mine….

Thank you for reading this and visiting my website, I hope you enjoy my products as much as I enjoy making them. Bottoms up!