Independent bottle shop, The Drink Hive, has teamed up with Garden Grown Gin to allow customers to refill empty gin bottles in-store during the month of March.

While beer and wine refill stations have become more common lately, this is thought to be the first gin refilling station in Sydney. It’s designed to be a more sustainable option for customers, and even saves them money – a refill of Garden Grown Gin costs $76 per 700ml, as opposed to the ordinary bottled retail price of $85.

And if the customer does not have their own empty bottle of Garden Grown Gin already, they can pick one up in-store free of charge. After the bottle has been refilled with fresh gin, the Drink Hive’s staff seal and date the bottle.

Frank Bethel, Co-owner of Grown Spirits, said it was an easy decision to partner with Drink Hive for this project.

“We knew from the beginning that we wanted to partner with The Drink Hive to turn this dream into a reality and launch Sydney’s first gin refill station,” Bethel said.

“They were an obvious choice for us based on their strong focus on sustainability and reducing waste.”

Bethel’s sentiments were echoed by Gregoire Bertaud, owner of The Drink Hive, who said: “Sustainability is key for our business.

“We were beyond thrilled to partner with Grown Spirits to launch the first refill station in Sydney with their award-winning Garden Grown gin.”

This refilling system required an innovative logistics solution from both producer and distributor.

“We work alongside our distributor, Noble Spirits, to facilitate the production and delivery of our gin to the bottle shop for refilling,” said Bethel.

“Our Garden Grown Gin is produced at Distillery Botanica and then delivered in drums to the bottle shops, ready to decant into their vats to dispense the refills. By switching to bulk format, we save around 35 glass bottles per drum.”

Bethel also believes there are still improvements to be made, with the company working on a scheme to collect and re-use the original drums for refills.

Grown Spirits has emphasised the possibility of reusing or ‘up-cycling’ its bottle since it first launched the brand a decade ago and as Bethel said: “Our bespoke Garden Grown Gin bottle was designed to have a life beyond just single-use.”

The Drink Hive is known for being one of the first bottle shops in Australia to offer wine and beer refills on tap, an offering that has been adopted by several stores and venues since the start of the pandemic. The move to include refillable spirits opens a new frontier in sustainable liquor retail, with the gin brand hoping that other retailers will follow suit.

“Since our refill station launched on March 1 we’ve had lots of love for it on social media, with customers and venues asking if we could do the same in their city,” Bethel said.

“So we’re hoping to roll it out in other independent bottle shops all around Australia.”

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