Never Never’s pioneering Oyster Shell Gin (OSG) has made the move into the environmentally-friendly ecoSPIRITS packaging format, helping to make the gin more affordable to venues, while also reducing carbon, waste and packaging.

Oyster Shell Gin is only the second Australian product to be featured in the fully reusable ecoTOTE format, the first being Never Never’s signature and ALIA-winning Triple Juniper Gin.

Never Never Distilling Co. Brand Director Sean Baxter said: “A gin like Oyster Shell Gin belongs in this circular packaging format. It was a gin born from finding flavour in waste products and being more mindful about our ingredient selection.

“This mindfulness now extends to how it is delivered to bars and restaurants across Australia. “ecoSPIRITS’ technology delivers a 60-90 per cent reduction in the carbon emission footprint of premium spirits packaging and distribution, and up to 95 per cent less physical glass waste.

“When we started Never Never we have always aimed to continue to cause a stir not only in flavour, but also innovation,” says Sean. “We’re delighted to play a key role in this incredible waste reduction movement, which will have a lasting impact on the sustainability of our industry.”

First released in late 2021 as a collaboration with Society restaurant in Melbourne, OSG has quickly become one of Never Never’s most popular releases, with Sean saying oyster shell as an ingredient adds minerality and a subtle sea spray to the gin.

“It’s a flavour supported by the carefully considered inclusion of other coastal ingredients such as Geraldton wax, olearia, salt bush and Tasmanian wakame,” he said.

“It’s as contemporary as you can get in the gin category, it plays the role of a coastal citrus gin with more exciting flavour combinations than anything else on the market.”

The gin is made using the lids of Kangaroo Island Pacific oysters, which are critical to the flavour and mouthfeel of the Oyster Shell Gin. The lids of the oysters are retained when the oysters are processed and then steeped in neutral spirit before being distilled the next day. This distillate forms the heart of Never Never’s Oyster Shell Gin.

“The inclusion of the shells add weightiness to the gin’s mouthfeel and creates a subtle coastal character that makes it unmatched in a contemporary martini,” Sean said. “Lashings of wax flower, wakame and salted citrus scratch the itch of anybody who loves a savoury Martini.

“We love it dry with a lemon or grapefruit twist, obviously accompanied by a fresh local oyster where available.”

For other serving suggestions Sean has a number of recommendations, including some as contemporary as the gin itself.

“For those partial to a gin and tonic, it works really well with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water and a lime leaf garnish, it’s the perfect example of a sophisticated, citrus-forward coastal highball,” he said, adding: “Everyone’s heard of a Shoey, well now we’re bringing out the Shelly.

“We take ice cold frozen Oyster Shell Gin and pour it into the empty, freshly consumed oyster shell. You then down it in one. The Shelly is a theatrical way to sample our briney coastal gin, one that pops with bright salted citrus character.”

Sean is also eyeing the Tequila category, explaining: “Our Oyster Shell Gin makes a better coastal ‘margarita’ than any of those cheap imported mixto Tequilas. The bright herbaceous notes and citrus aromas work brilliantly in a riff on a Tommy’s Margarita or Paloma cocktail.

“If someone was able to convince a bartender back in 2010 that Tequila works in a Negroni, then I can get people to try Oyster Shell Gin in a Margarita in 2023; add a splash of jalapeño pickle brine and you’re off to the races.”

Never Never will be celebrating the launch into ecoTOTE with a series of trade events throughout November, which will include the Shelly experience, with events occurring in Adelaide at Fugazzi on the 14th of November, in Melbourne at Union Electric on the 21st of November and in Sydney at Old Mates Place on the 28th of November.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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