Tan Lines Signature Gin

15 days ago
Tan Lines Signature Gin

This month we’re thrilled to be featuring the Signature Gin from Tan Lines Distilling, situated in Townsville, a coastal haven that epitomises the stereotypical Australian summer. From koalas and crocodiles to coral reefs alike, the metropolis of North Queensland boasts all the wonders that our native landscape has to offer – which is exactly what Tan Lines Distilling sets out to do. Each Tan Lines bottle captures the laid-back, sun-soaked spirit of the northern tropics. Designed to delight both the stubborn aficionado and uncomplicated gin-drinker, Tan Lines deliver a getaway in a bottle without forfeiting complexity, quality, or sustainability. A vivid and contemporary Australian gin, Tan Lines offers a harmonious blend of fruity and earthy tones, a hug from the warm Australian summer if you will. With each sip, you’re a step closer to paradise.

ABOUT THE DISTILLERY

Originally from Melbourne, Tan Lines Founder Aaron Rieniets moved to the United States as a teenager, operating specialised heavy equipment along the West Coast. Eventually, Aaron transitioned to the hospitality industry, bartending and restaurant managing before landing a job at Dogwood Distilling. It wasn’t until Aaron moved back to Australia in 2019, settling on the tropical shores of Townsville – which hosted just one distillery – that he realised the prospect of founding his own. Whilst simultaneously navigating the challenges of COVID-19, Aaron embarked on an entrepreneurial journey, exploiting lockdowns as an opportunity to develop a business plan and lay the foundations of what would eventually become Tan Lines Distilling. Trialling various iterations of gin recipes at home, Aaron admits it was a venture that felt like a regression from his background in professional distilling at the time. “The move from professionally distilling to home distilling seemed a bit backwards at the time, but it was an opportunity to develop something unique to Tan Lines Distilling.” The name Tan Lines was born from a running joke shared between colleagues during Aaron’s time as a swim coach when he first moved back to Australia. He’d tell everyone he’d one day open a company named Tan Lines, paying homage to the tan lines that developed on his feet – an Aussie trademark that we can all relate to. Almost three years after its conception, Aaron kept his promise and officially opened the doors of Tan Lines Distilling to the public in November of 2022. From a compact space, the distillery itself is charming in all regards. Hosted inside the Rockpool Pavilion Restaurant, Tan Lines was the first distillery in Townsville with a cellar door and is made complete with a view of Magnetic Island (or Maggie as it’s locally referred to) that lures tourists and locals alike. “We were very fortunate with our arrangement with the restaurant, as it is not common for a distillery inside a restaurant to have a different owner.” Aaron credits the unwavering support from his wife and parents for the distillery’s growing success. And to brand it a true family affair, his younger brother Quentin has since abandoned his life in the U.S to assist with operations and sales at Tan Lines. Quentin brings with him an abundance of experience acquired during his time spent at breweries and wineries in Oregon and the Willamette Valley, seeing the distillation process as a natural extension of his work in wine and craft beer. Behind the distillery door, Tan Lines utilise a state of the art still, the iStill 500 Hybrid, to also craft an exceptional Rosella Pink Gin, an Australian Vodka, and eventually whisky. You can attend tours and tastings by appointment, and even get a glimpse of fresh recipes in the works. But it’s the Signature Gin that we’re all here for. As we head into the chillier months, let Tan Lines help us escape to a sun-soaked oasis.

ABOUT THE GIN

Tan Lines’ Signature Gin is, put simply, a product of its environment. Fascinated by the Australian landscape and how it could be incorporated into the distillation process, Aaron sought to create a gin that was both balanced and versatile. The blend needed to encapsulate the spirit of the lush Australian coast whether neat, on ice, paired with your favourite tonic, or mixed into a cocktail. To achieve such a vivacious flavour, Aaron opted for a traditional Dutch style distillation over a London Dry style. This sees the botanicals steeped in the liquid, ensuring the oils and flavours are extracted from each element, as opposed to suspending the botanicals overhead in a basket which can lead to a weak and subtle flavouring. “The inclusion of Native Australian botanicals is something that fascinates and excites me. Australia has such vibrant and unique botanicals that make the distillation and tasting process so much fun.” After exploring seven iterations (one of which Aaron named “Cat on a hot gin roof”!), the final concoction is bright and zesty featuring lemon myrtle, strawberry gum, and desert lime, while the earthy hints from the wattle-seed serve to ground the floral tones. Along with the traditional ingredients of gin (juniper berries, coriander seed, and angelica root), Tan Lines denotes a gin that is exotic, bold, and made extraordinary by its botanical blends found exclusively in Australia.

SUSTAINABILITY

Continuing to pay homage to the environment in which it is crafted in, Tan Lines proudly situates sustainability at the crux of its ethos. From recyclable packaging to waste management, the health and endurance of the land is considered across the whole distillation process. Beginning at the sourcing of ingredients, Tan Lines utilises local companies that either match or exceed the sustainability efforts of its own to ethically source produce. Each Native Australian botanical is derived through ethical harvesting; working in partnership with indigenous communities to ensure the appropriate social and environmental practices continue. Finally, each bottle is Australian-made and designed to be re-used, a credit to peel-off labels brought to life by Melbourne’s Birdstone Creative. The easy removal of the front label allows for customers to savour the artwork and expose the underwater scene through the bottle without the messy clean-up of a stubborn label. The distillery also runs a bottle return program for refilling and appropriate recycling.

OTHER PRODUCTS IN THE RANGE

Tan Lines core range currently boasts an Australian Vodka and Rosella Pink Gin, in addition to their signature blend. Having conquered the basics, the team’s next scheduled release is set to be a delectable Navy Strength Gin, and for all the espresso martini lovers among you, a coffee vodka. Created in collaboration with Ryan Tolman from Long Shot Coffee, the blend of espresso and vodka is just one more way Tan Lines pays tribute to Australia’s culture. MasterChef’s reigning winner Rhiannon Anderson has also planned to collaborate on a limited-edition range of craft spirits, after a bottle of Tan Lines Gin raised a record-breaking amount at an Ovarian Cancer Research fundraising event she hosted. We look forward to substituting the Melbourne chill for a visit to Aaron’s lush Townsville distillery and can’t wait to taste his upcoming releases. In the meantime, we’ll bask in all the warmth Tan Lines Signature Gin has to offer. Cheers!

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