Philip Moore was announced as the 12th entrant to the Gin Magazine Hall of Fame at the magazine’s awards, which were held on Friday, February 24.
The horticulturist-turned-distiller is the force behind Distillery Botanica, Moore’s Gin and smash hit Aussie coffee liqueur, Mr Black.
This is a significant honour in the gin world, with other Hall of Famers including Lesley Gracie – who developed Hendrick’s Gin, Desmond Payne – the Master Distiller at Beefeater, and Christopher Hayman – Founder of Hayman Distillers.
Moore’s colleague at Distillery Botanica, Distillery Manager Nigel Weisbaum, said the announcement was a pleasant surprise for everyone at the Erina, NSW based distillery.
“Honestly, it came out of left-field – none of us had this on our radar,” Weisbaum said.
“For Philip to be recognised on a global level was an amazing surprise.”
Moore is the first, and so far, only Australian to be inducted into Gin Magazine’s Hall of Fame.
“We are a tiny distillery tucked away on the Central Coast of NSW, to be recognised in this way is amazing,” Weisbaum added.
Moore spent 20 years working as a botanist and herbalist, growing his business, Renaissance Herbs, into Australia’s largest wholesale herb nursery. In 2005, Moore decided on a career change, purchasing the Fragrant Gardens, a nursery site of some three acres.
Here, Moore taught himself the science of distillation with a small still, the internet and a couple of books. In 2007, he founded Distillery Botanica. At the time, there were only a few distilleries in Australia, so Moore can be considered a pioneer of the Australian gin business.
Moore’s knowledge of horticulture and botanicals meant he was well equipped for a career in gin-making, producing spirits using ingredients he had grown himself on the property. For Weisbaum, it is this that sets him apart from his competition.
“Him being recognised with such global heavyweights confirms everything we have been saying to visitors to the distillery door – Philip Moore creates world class spirits and liqueurs in this three-acre garden!”
As Moore’s entry in Gin Magazine’s Hall of Fame reads: “Philip’s approach to gin and liqueur making has helped not only to create some truly unique liquids, but also to put Australia on the craft distilling map.”
Moore’s success is a reward for years of hard work, says Caroline Ashford, ‘The Gin Queen’, an independent writer and observer of Australia’s gin industry.
“It’s an extraordinary achievement for Philip to be inducted into the Gin Magazine’s Hall of Fame,” Ashford said.
“To have an Aussie distiller shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Desmond Payne, Lesley Gracie and Joanne Moore is an inspiration to the whole Australian gin industry. Philip has quietly and humbly been working hard crafting his gins since 2007 and it’s heart-warming to see him get the recognition he deserves.”
Moore’s triumph was part of a raft of wins for Aussie distillers in the Gin Magazine Awards, with Four Pillars, Devil’s Thumb and Never Never all picking up gongs. Archie Rose and Cape Byron distillery were also given commendations.
Read more on the Gin Magazine Awards here.
“Australia has been punching well above its weight with the quality of our gins and the innovation of our distillers,” Weisbaum said.
“However, none of this would have happened without the support from all the restaurants, bars and retailers that have been advocating and supporting Australian spirits to their customers for the past 10 years.”
“To them we are grateful and ask for continued understanding of the challenging and inequitable excise regime we have here in Australia,” Weisbaum concluded.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Moore is in the process of remodelling the distillery gardens, and reimagining the distillery door experience, with plans to allow visitors to pick fruits, roots, and leaves, and distil their own spirit.