Moonshiner Newtown Distilling Collaboration | Margaret Street Signature Gin

EDITED BY Rebecca Wellwood


From left: Tim, Jane, Lauren, Andy and Georgie

Imagine: a crisp moonlit night, a pair of street cats peering down from the terraced rooftops to a richly graffitied alleyway as wafts of sweet citrus and savoury herbs fill the air. The distillers laugh and warm their hands by a hand-crafted bubbling urn. A neighbour arrives with a guitar and a song, another brings bags of freshly picked lemon myrtle and finger limes. Mismatched tumblers filled with smallbatch spirits are passed around and the stories begin.

Based in Sydney’s colourful inner west, Moonshiner Newtown Distillery has five core members: Tim, who worked with Lauren, is married to Jane, is friends with Andy, and a neighbour to Georgie. As you can see, it’s a close-knit crew and at its heart: collaboration. It embodies friendship, inclusion, and a love for gin.

Tim is the head distiller, chief experimenter, and driving force of the operation. Learning the process from the ground up, he started by fermenting his own alcohol, creating distillates, testing flavour combinations until the Margaret Street Signature Gin was born. Jane, his wife, handles most of the marketing and a lot of the tasting; a hard job, but someone has to do it! Andy specialises in sales and distribution. Georgie’s background in data marketing and a love of spreadsheets made her the perfect operations manager to keep everyone on track. Their fifth member is Lauren; her background is in HR, and she helps with all things contract related.

But it’s not a case of everyone sticking to their own lanes; everyone lends a hand with sales, marketing, bottling and tastings. Each of the whole crew can often be found pouring G&Ts and shaking cocktails behind the bar in their tasting room.

The Moonshiner crew began the business in 2019 with the aim of creating a series of punchy small batch gins that stand up to tonic without disappearing into the background. After enquiring after a space alongside bakery “TIM Products” on Enmore Road in Marrickville, they took as a sign it was all meant to be!

Moonshiner’s distillery might just be one of the tiniest in Australia. With their distilling ‘warehouse’ measuring a quaint 3m by 5m, it’s small, but mighty! Their three stills get most of the work done and a wheelable workbench doubles as storage space. Thankfully, the vast 2m high ceilings allow for built-in shelving to hold packaging and and ceiling hooks to hang botanical baskets. By utilising mesh cages in their undercover carpark, they’ve managed to squeeze in the extra metreage of one car spot to their total area.

While distilling by night, the team would often watch through the windows the passers-by, all heading along the infamous ‘inner west craft beer trail’. There and then, they vowed to establish their own tasting room. At the end of 2022, the day finally came and the team opened up the intimate space on Saturday afternoons; the rest of the time, the space reverts to being storage for the bakery.

Underneath the sign for TIM Products, Moonshiner’s Distillery and Tasting Room is easily distinguished by a vibrant pink door in a wall of green Astro-turf that leads you into a secret glen. There, you’ll find wall murals of urban nymphs painted by a local street artist, and a bar created out of old industrial ethanol drums. Behind the bar, windows look out to the little backroom distillery, and on the wall, there’s a showcase of all their gins to try and buy. The Moonshiner Bar has been a huge success; a coveted destination for a number of gin tours. You’ll also often find them hosting special food and gin events and taking their range along to nearby markets.

Reading their story, you’ll have no doubt picked up that the life of these gin distillers is a labour of love. In fact, the five all create this magic while still juggling separate full-time jobs. The name “Moonshiner” came from the fact that they were (and still are) doing most of the distilling and experimentation at night. There’s something romantic about stepping out of a distilling run and seeing a huge full moon in the sky.

Their colourful label reflects their local neighbourhood and accompanying street art; the huge iridescent moon reminiscent of those late nights spent in the distillery. With a closer look, you’ll notice the design features the iconic St Peters Smoke Stacks; the yellow and blue neon lines represent the life and lights of King Street and Enmore Road; and the vegetation symbolises the urban botanicals that are featured in their gin. If you look even more closely, hiding in the design are five animals that represent the five core members of the team.

The shape of the bottle was another very deliberate decision – they went for a shape resembling a hip flask to echo the sly grog era from the past. It’s also handy because you can fit more of them on the shelf (and who doesn’t want an even more tightly packed gin shelf!?).

About Margaret Street Signature Gin

Margaret Street was one of the very first gins that Tim perfected. It’s fitting to be named after the street that links Georgie to Tim and Jane. It’s a quintessential inner-city street, featuring tightly packed cottages with pocket handkerchief gardens, and world class street art. Margaret is also Jane’s mum’s name, which is very apt.

Moonshiner Newtown Distillery are keen to source as much as they can from their local surroundings and fellow businesses. Their Margaret Street Signature Gin includes finger limes from a neighbours’ farm wherever possible. The gin is based on a London Dry style, but with greater range of flavour and a robust, distinct Australian twist. It’s citrus and juniper forward, featuring indigenous signature ingredients – Dorrigo pepper (a distant cousin of the Mountain Pepperberry with a fruity taste and a peppery bite), finger limes, lemon myrtle and strawberry gum.

We’ve paired their Margaret Street Signature Gin with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic for a full, herbaceous flavour complemented by refreshing cucumber and a kick from the peppercorn. When it comes to the tonic, the Moonshiner team like to think like their customers – it’s important to them that their gins work with Schweppes Tonic. After all, it’s the most common in a post-mix in bars, and for many enjoying a casual drink at home. Not a bad idea to ensure your product can easily be enjoyed by all.

For those of you who may not be too fond of cucumber, dehydrated lime also comes up a treat to complement the finger lime and lemon myrtle flavours. Just add a charcuterie board for the ultimate feast – the saltiness reacts with the citrus to create a perfectly balanced afternoon delight.

Other Products in the Range

Each gin in the Moonshiner range tells a story – and is named after streets in and around the local neighbourhood. There are another seven gins in the series, plus two ready-made cocktails. On the opposite end of the spectrum from Margaret Street Signature Gin is their Simmons Street Aussie Native Gin – a spicy, peppery gin with three different kinds of myrtle: lemon, cinnamon and aniseed. If you’re after a delicate gin, try the Pear and Lime Gin. Continuing their love of supporting local is their Espresso Gintini, a firm favourite made with beans from the nearby Coffee Alchemy.

If that wasn’t enough, the Moonshiner team are about to add two new gins to their range! The first is a smoky barrel aged gin in the style of a Jenever. It is rested in a charred Pinot Noir barrel for up to a year, to create an almost whiskey-like gin, that is smashingly scrumptious in an Old Fashioned cocktail. The other is their Commodore Street Navy Strength Gin. It has a secret base of botanicals that gives an incredibly subtle sweet-sour balance and a gentle flavour that belies the high alcohol content. Commodore Street Gin was named in memory of Isaac Josephson, a local man who was the co-founder of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. Too much of this silkysmooth gin and you’ll be ‘at sea’!

The Moonshiner team love creating spirits that people enjoy sharing - with each telling its own very special story we’re looking forward to hearing the tales they come up with next.

Gin type – London Dry

Appearance – Clear, bright

Botanicals – Juniper, fresh orange, Dorrigo pepper, finger lime, lemon myrtle, strawberry gum

Aroma – Juniper-forward, complexity of juicy citrus and a light strawberry finish

Palate – Piney juniper, and earthy root-driven spices follows through with a burst of fruitiness from sun-kissed orange, strawberry gum, zesty finger lime and lemon myrtle

Finish – Dorrigo pepper sings for a bold and clean finish, with strawberry gum lingering on the back of the tongue

Our perfect G&T
• 30ml Margaret Street Signature Gin
• 90ml Fever-Tree Mediterranean

  • Dehydrated Cucumber and black peppercorns

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