UNVEILING THE UNIQUE SPIRIT OF "TWELVE AND A HALF ACRES"
Let the Story Begin
Set amongst the tranquil views of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland on the Blackall Range, the Twelve and a Half Acres distillery stands as a testament to a journey of transformation and passion. Nestled on a property that spans its namesake, Twelve and a Half Acres, this distillery embodies the adventurous spirit of its owner and operator, Andrew Lancaster.
A Spirited Inspiration
From an accomplished military career with the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force to scrubbing distillery floors, Andrew Lancaster's venture into the distillery world was no less than an audacious leap. His longing for a life-changing adventure that was a little out of left field led him down a path of complex yet fulfilling challenges.
With a love for adventure and a background in mountaineering, skiing, and helicopter flying, Andrew embraced his transition from military life with open arms. The chance to learn something new was both exhilarating and captivating. As the distillery's builder, owner, distiller, and operations manager, he immersed himself fully in his newfound passion.
The Evolution of the Craft
The road to distilling began for Andrew with a year-long course with The Distillers Institute in November 2021. Through this, he gained a deep understanding of the licensing processes, costing, and marketing aspects of distilling. A pivotal part of his learning journey has been hands-on experience at Sunshine & Sons Distillery and continued support of owners Matt Hobson and Michael Conrad.
With the approval from Sunshine Coast council in mid 2022, Twelve and a Half Acres was ready to embark on its distilling adventure. By November 2022, Andrew had obtained his Australian Tax Office license to produce alcohol, followed by the Queensland State Artisan Distiller's license in June 2023.
A Vision Brewed in Quality and Community
The essence of Twelve and a Half Acres is rooted in the production of high-quality, consistently excellent spirits, produced using traditional methods. These spirits are distilled using the finest possible natural ingredients in an ecologically sustainable manner. The distillery has found its primary customer base among locals of varied age groups, from adventurous young adults to connoisseurs who value reliable quality.
Andrew aspires to foster a robust relationship with the local community, supporting local events and the local veteran community. Moreover, he hopes to contribute to local commerce and intends to establish partnerships with local restaurants and bars.
Crafting Distinctive Spirits
The journey of crafting the first product was not devoid of trials. Andrew's first distilling attempt was less than stellar, but it ignited a challenge within him to produce an outstanding spirit. This led him to seek mentorship from his friend, Adam Champman, an award-winning Australian distiller and head distiller at Sunshine & Sons.
Presently, the distillery offers an array of distinctive gins, including their Montville Dry Gin, The Commodore Navy Strength Gin, Lemon Myrtle Gin, Liquorice Gin, and Citrus & Spice Gin. And an exciting absinthe product line is on the horizon, slated for a Christmas release.
The Distillation Process
The spirits at Twelve and a Half Acres come to life through a meticulous distillation process. It begins with the receipt of premium neutral spirit and organic botanicals from specialist providers. Each distilling cycle produces approximately 100 litres of spirit, which is then allowed to settle, chill filtered, and settled again before being bottled for sale.
Andrew goes the extra mile to ensure the quality of his products, from tracking the ingredients from dispatch to receipt to conducting regular checks during the distillation process. He also uses industry-standard measuring equipment to ensure accurate alcohol content.
From Pineapple Farm to Premier Distillery
The journey of the Twelve and a Half Acres property is as intriguing as its owner. Once a pineapple, banana, and paw paw farm, it transitioned into a drought-tolerant plant nursery before becoming home to the distillery. The property hosts two AirBnbs, potentially paving the way for unique future collaborations between the accommodation and distillery businesses.
Local ingredients like lemon myrtle leaves and wormwood from the property lend a distinctive flavour to the spirits. Andrew hopes to grow as many botanicals as possible on his property, aligning with his vision for self-sustainability.
The Twelve and a Half Acres distillery is more than just a business; it's an emblem of a bold and transformative journey. It is a place where quality spirits meet breathtaking views, and where community ties are both cherished and strengthened. Andrew Lancaster's adventure has led to the creation of a product that inspires people to venture into the unknown and do something different. And as the journey continues, the legacy of Twelve and a Half Acres is only set to grow stronger.