The Story of Never Never Gin
Tim, George, Sean and a still called Wendy. These are the characters who ask you to step into the Never Never, a place of adventure and fearlessness, and for us, filled with gin!
Starting a small business is not for the faint-hearted, especially in the crowded marketplace of the modern gin scene, but while they may have chosen to step into the unknown it was not without the knowledge and passion to back it up.
Tim’s obsession with gin distilling and brewing is hereditary – a descendant of the Gilbey family of distillers in Scotland, he was tinkering with stills and fermenters in his back garden long before he had a full-scale distillery to play with.
George’s background is finance – but don’t hold that against him. Always a science whizz, he travelled the world researching the skill of flavour production (including courses in brewing and distilling).
He was drawn into the world of flavour and he knew that when he made his own spirits it would be in his hometown of Adelaide, inspired by the quality artisanship for which the region is known.
Sean came from a hospitality background being a career bartender and keen cook (a Masterchef contestant, in fact!). He is well acquainted with the output end of the flavour making process as well as having the marketing and brand management know-how which comes from working as a National Brand Ambassador for Diageo.
So, the scene is set, and as with a lot of good Aussie stories, the next act begins over a pint in a pub. Three mates with a love of flavour and craftmanship decide to pool their money for the final piece of the puzzle – a 300L pot and column hybrid still which they named Wendy. They set her up in the back of a brewery on the outskirts of Adelaide, and the adventure began.
The team at Never Never have a passion for the science of flavour.
This is what has propelled them from 16 square metres of shed space to their stunning new distillery and cellar door in McLaren Vale in a few short years.
The growth may have been organic, but the product development and vision for the brand have been laser focussed from the outset – in fact, almost the exact hill line which can be seen from their new home on Chalk Hill has been on their bottle labels from the get-go.
Talk about manifesting your destiny…
Adelaide is finally getting the recognition it deserves as a flavour capital of Australia (you heard us, it’s not all about the East coast anymore!), but it has a long history of world-beating wine and food production, and more recently an incredible bar and dining scene.
It was inevitable that gin would follow, and for a brand building their name on flavour alone, it was a natural choice.
Never Never was always going to be a classic gin. London Dry is the number one selling gin category in the world, and while all of the team have profound respect for the simple artistry of a well-made spirit in this style, Sean’s background in bartending meant that he understood how invaluable a product which makes an incredible gin and tonic or slips easily into any classic gin cocktail would be.
The research and development for their flagship was exhaustive; to make a gin that will stand out without the help of quirky botanicals, you have to be meticulous. Eight months, forty individual botanical distillates, countless days blending and tweaking before the thirty-third recipe proved to be the charm.
The effort was clearly worth it with Never Never now producing Australia’s most highly awarded gins.
In 2019, Never Never’s Southern Strength Gin took out World’s Best Classic Gin at the World Gin Awards, putting this small distillery in South Australia on the map.
Since then they haven’t looked back - with Southern Strength being named ‘Best In Show’ back-to-back at the Australian Gin Awards and their Triple Juniper was voted #1 Australian Spirit in the Hottest 100 Aussie Spirit Countdown of 2020. Don’t forget their Juniper Freak, which was named best Australian Navy Strength Gin back-to-back at the World Gin Awards.
The distillery’s various fun collaborations under the Dark Series label have continued to perform well in local and international awards and competitions, proving that everyone seems to agree – more flavour makes better gin, and better gin makes better drinks. Pretty simple really, but most good philosophies are!
Juniper. It’s what makes gin, gin – so if you’re going to make a gin, you should probably pay attention to it, right? Never Never Triple Juniper is a love letter to the wonderful juniper berry.
It has long been used for its aromatic purposes (stuffed in the long beak of plague doctors, as one more extreme historical example!), but each part of the berry brings its own unique flavour – the skin is tannic and dry, the flesh oily and bright and the seed piney and earthy.
The guys at Never Never concentrate that complexity using their triple infusion process. First, the juniper is steeped in a neutral spirit for about 24 hours. They then add fresh juniper into the steep with their other carefully selected botanicals before distilling.
Finally, even more juniper is added into the vapour basket to make sure that all of the fresh and floral top notes are captured.
This is what makes the Triple Juniper so versatile. It is one the gin-iest gins you will ever have the pleasure of trying.
The depth of flavour elevates any classic cocktail you care to try it in, and don’t even get us started on the gin and tonic – it is one of life’s great duos for a reason (the juniper in gin and the quinine in tonic gel on a molecular level to create even tastier flavour compounds).Shop Australia's Most Highly Awarded Gins Today.