Papa Salt Gin, the Australian gin brand created by five friends including Margot Robbie, is ready to go national across Australia, after the soft launch in May saw the brand sell out in less than 48 hours.

Robbie, with her husband Tom Ackerley and friends Josey McNamara, Regan Riskas and Charlie Maas created Papa Salt Gin with some recipe help from Brian Restall of Lord Byron Distillery, and the friends wanted to be sure they created something more than just another ‘celebrity’ drinks brand.

Speaking to The Shout, Maas said the founders wanted to launch the brand to the trade and really educate on the story behind the gin.

“We are going to have an on-premise focus initially, that’s where people try new brands, so we are going to be going to the trade again, making sure that bartenders understand what Papa Salt is the quality behind the brand, the heritage and the fact that it is properly Australian-made,” he said.

“We want it that when someone asks ‘what is that? I’ve heard it’s Margot Robbie’s gin’ that the bartender will be able to say to them ‘well actually, it’s a great product, it’s made in Byron Bay’ and be able to give them the whole story behind the brand. Our focus is really going to be in the on-premise and probably will be for a while, but we are excited that it’s going to be on shelves in retailers as well.”

In terms of the type of venues that the team will be focusing on, Maas said that once again the story behind the gin, and what the founders wanted for themselves out of Papa Salt will be driving those decisions.

“In a very grand scheme we made a gin to drink outside in the sun and so we are looking at a lot of places that will have garden activations, big or small, it doesn’t really matter, just somewhere you can be outside and drinking Papa Salt.”

Speaking to the founders it is very clear that there is a lot of confidence in the actual gin itself and what they have created. The gin champions native Australian botanicals, including roasted wattleseed, pink peppercorn, wax flower, cardamon, ginger, orange and lemon peel and there is a little minerality from Oyster shell – juniper is the only Papa Salt ingredient not sourced from Australia.

A common theme is that Papa Salt is a savoury gin, they did not want to create anything too floral, and that it is a versatile gin. They strongly believe that anyone who tastes it is going to want it on their back bar or on their shop shelf.

“We’ve had a lot of bartender mates play around with it and it does an incredible job of supporting and enhancing other flavours without ever overpowering them,” the founders told The Shout.

“We’ve found that talented bartenders can tease out different flavours of the botanicals. Some Papa Salt cocktails feature the zing from the peppercorn and ginger, while others play on the minerality of the oyster shell, and some lean into the savoury wattleseed and cardamom. The versatility of the juice is what makes it fun to play with (and drink).”

Another factor that is likely to help Papa Salt Gin is the packaging. The striking blue bottle and unusual shape will stand out in bars and on shelves, and once again the founders wanted to do something different with the bottle.

“We looked at all the craft gin competitors in Australia and the big international brands and one thing that really stood out was all these brands were maximalist in their design, there’s a lot going on in the packaging and a lot of detail on their labels,” Maas said.

“We want Papa Salt to be a much simpler gin, just lots of ice and one mixer and we wanted the packaging to reflect that, Tom said that he wanted the bottle to fit in a backpack and this to be a gin for the beach. There’s a lot of different ways we went about this and conceptualised it, but in general we thought if everyone is going more, more, more on their packaging and their labels, how can we make this as simple as possible and still have it reflect the coastal aspect to it?”

After the quick sellout in May the Papa Salt team and Lord Byron Distillery have been working to build up stocks so they can go to market fully prepped. The gin is now stocked and available to order via wholesalers or direct through Iconic Beverages nationwide.

Papa Salt is now available exclusively through rapidly growing Australian independent spirits distributor, ICONIC Beverages. For trade enquiries contact or visit the website

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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