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Husk Distillers farm-to-bottle rum

The Australian Farm-To-Bottle Movement: A Husk Distillers Story

From Barossa to Bordeaux, winemakers have long used local terroir to produce a top-quality drop. The term, which translates to “a sense of place,” encompasses all three key wine-growing factors: climate, soil, and fermentation/farming techniques.

Now, some small-batch spirits makers incorporate the philosophy into their boozy artisanal wares. From local wheat grain whiskey to rainforest botanical-infused gin, high-end booze consumers can spot impressive farm-to-bottle credentials on the label.

We spoke to Harriet Messenger from Husk Distillers to get the lowdown on this emerging trend.

Terroir

Husk’s fertile Tweed Hinterland property has the perfect soil and climatic conditions to grow sugar cane, the critical ingredient in their famous Husk Rum.

“The land influences the character of the product. Like wine, cane juice rum is seasonal and variable. The unique conditions such as the geology, the soil and that year’s climatic conditions mean each harvest sings a slightly different song,” Harriet says.

Most Aussie sugar cane comes from Far North Queensland. But it doesn’t have the same smooth taste.

“You could take the equipment and distiller and move them to a different region like North Queensland. The rum would taste different because the cane has been grown in a different environment,” Harriet says.

Although pricier than importing from Mossman, locally produced sugar cane has been a crucial piece of Husk’s rum-making puzzle.

“The trade-off for us is crafting spirits rooted in the region. Husk Rum reflects the provenance of the Caldera Coast – the ancient, eroded core of a volcano which erupted 23 million years ago. Each year the soil, season, and climate affect the harvest.”

farm-to-bottle husk distillers drone shot

The Farm-to-Bottle Philosophy

Provenance affects flavour. But there’s more to the story than taste. With climate change-related catastrophes menacing Australia for consecutive years, consumers are putting sustainability first.

Zero kilometre produce is an easy way the layman can do their bit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The concept exploded in Spain and Italy some time ago and is making inroads in the Aussie mindset.

“Farm to bottle means that Husk Rum is made 100% on our farm, from sugarcane grown 100% on our farm. Everything happens in one place.”

Not content with sticking to just sugar cane, Husk has set about growing almost all their ingredients on-site.

“We grow as many of our ingredients as we can. We harvest what we need, when we need it. Native ginger used in our spiced rum Bam Bam is foraged from around our farm. Since 2017, we’ve planted over 2000 native trees, plants, and shrubs on our farm in rainforest plots.”

Other Northern NSW spirits makers, such as Cape Byron Distillery, adopt a similar farm-to-bottle approach. Nonetheless, Husk Distillers proudly remains the only farm-to-bottle rum maker in Australia.

Husk Distillers barrels of rum

Sustainable Production Practices

Minimising transport emissions is only part of a sustainable production model. From recycling stormwater to composting agricultural waste, Husk Distillers is reducing its footprint in numerous ways.

“We manage all our waste streams carefully. Our organic waste is either fed to our herd of spoilt cattle or returned to the land as compost. We’re moving towards zero glass waste in our bar. Therefore, our spirits come in bulk from the distillery and filled in reusable glass bottles. Our premium mixers come in kegs from Strangelove.”

“Our cardboard waste is either recycled or shredded and used to pack up orders in a dispatch. We also have 300,000 litres of rainwater in storage to run our production cooler and flush our loos.”

Husk Distillers cocktails on the grass

Sip Farm-to-Bottle Spirits at Husk with Kiff & Culture

Ready to try tasty tipples while doing your bit for the environment?

At Kiff & Culture, we work with curated eco-conscious providers to minimise our carbon footprint on every tour. Experience farm-to-bottle flavours with us at Husk and other Northern NSW venues.

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