Reg and Greta Papps have announced they have left Ironbark Distillery, a venture they created in the Hawkesbury in NSW in 2015.
At the same time, Halewood have announced their full ownership of the distillery, news coming after their first investment into Ironbark earlier this year.
In a post on Facebook, Reg, who was once Master Distiller and Director, wrote: “My wife and I are no longer with Ironbark Distillery.”
The post went on to read: “The company was born out of a dream I had, and my wife and children supported me as we went through all the stages of setting up a distillery, hard work, long hours, dedication, passion, and honesty and never taking advantage of other peoples hard work – the true spirit of Australians.”
“Producing multi international award winning spirits for all to enjoy was always our aim, and we have achieved that in spades.”
“To our many friends and followers, and all those who have supported and helped us along the journey, you all know who you are, we thank you for your loyalty to us and our products. We are truly grateful for the many friends we have gained along the journey.”
“I am proud to say, that maybe, I have helped create the enjoyment that many have when you sit down and pour that G&T.”
“The industry is in my blood and the family history runs deep, and I’m proud to say that this unexpected change in direction does not end our journey, stay tuned for the next adventure.”
Earlier this year, Halewood and Ironbark announced that the UK spirits producer had bought a majority stake in the Australian distillery. At the time, Halewood was just getting started in Australia, and intended to triple Ironbark’s production capacity in order to expand the brand into the UK, USA and China.
Describing the partnership back in March, Reg said: “To have a business partner like Halewood Australia behind Ironbark gives us the opportunity to see the brand grow to its full potential, and be carried forward for many generations.”
The latest post on Ironbark Distillery’s Facebook page announced the Halewood acquisition, to which some commenters reacted negatively.
When asked about the acquisition, Halewood told TheShout: “Halewood has invested significantly into Ironbark Distillery through marketing, human resource and production capabilities.”
“That investment now ensures a fantastic Australian gin brand and artisanal gin company is able to continue to trade and look to the future. Our new Master Distiller Tim Lane, of the Hawkesbury River and trained by Reg, will take on the role and we are continuing to recruit local positions in the distillery.”
“The brand will continue to grow into other Markets, showcasing and supporting Australian craft Gin products to the rest of the world.”