In the lead-up to Kalki Moon’s three-year anniversary and to meet customer demand, the family business has upgraded their equipment with a new still to produce 10 times more gin.
Kalki Moon master distiller and founder Rick Prosser said the new still has a capacity of 1000 litres, which is a massive upgrade from the original 100 litres.
“When we started, we only had two small stills – a 100-litre for our gin and a 200-litre for our rum,” Rick said.
“We had this still custom made, and it will help us keep up with the demand.
“It means seven days of distilling to meet the demand for our gin, and sometimes we will be able to distil twice a day as well.”
The original gin still was made from a combination of copper and stainless steel, whereas the new still is 100 per cent copper. Rick said this would help to improve the taste of his Kalki Moon gin.
He said the $300,000 upgrade would not only increase the amount of gin produced at Kalki Moon, but would also improve efficiency and in return would be cost effective for the business.
Rick said another benefit from having the new still was that it would free up their time to make more rum, which is being made in the 600 litre still that was installed at Kalki Moon in June last year.
“Our foundation 100 litre and 200 litre both ran off electricity, and the new still is steam boil and runs of gas, so it will save us by reducing operational costs,” he said.
“Our long-term investment is in Bundaberg, our future is in this town, and we are proudly Bundaberg.”
New still named after Rick’s grandmother
Rick said when looking to purchase the new still to make his gin, he had the opportunity to buy from other countries including the USA and Germany, but he wanted to support Australian made and chose to go with Sunshine Stills in Victoria.
“It’s a nice piece of equipment to have and we are all really looking forward to making our first batch,” he said.
“Most distillers name their equipment after a female family figure.
“We named it Marie after my grandmother, we lost her in 2009.
“I remember cooking with my grandmother as a young fella; she was kind of a matriarch of our family and it’s nice to name this after her.”
Family business trading as normal
The family business also includes Rick’s wife Kylie who said it was full steam ahead for tours, despite the recent Covid-19 public health concerns, and she wanted to assure the community that they were trading as normal.
“We are still trading, and we haven’t shut any tours down, and we run our tours every 20 minutes,” Kylie said.
“We don’t get big tour numbers, and we are playing it safe with our hand sanitiser. We have definitely stepped up our protocols in cleanliness and are hoping to remain open and be that tourist destination people are looking for.”
With seven core products and two seasonal – the chilli vodka and barrel gin, along with a stock of aged rum that is still to be opened, Rick said they looked forward to moving forward in the business.
Rick said he expected the new still to be up and running by this weekend, and that meant more products for sale within the next three weeks, which would help after the recent start in panic buying.
“We have plenty of stock on hand,” Rick said.
“The panic buying has started now with alcohol, and we are keeping stocks up for wholesale and have had a pretty solid flow of customers.
“People can come in and do a tour, have a cocktail and see what we have to offer.
“We turn three next Wednesday (25 March) and we had to postpone our celebration, but we are open as usual, and we are encouraging people to come in and relax of an afternoon.”