SHOP LOCAL: City Beach resident opens distillery

SHOP LOCAL: City Beach resident opens distillery

CITY Beach resident, author and distiller Danielle Costley followed her passion two years ago, setting up SouWester Spirits in Margaret River.

The distillery has produced 375 bottles of meticulously handcrafted gin that has been aged for six months in ice-pressed chardonnay barrels.

1. When did you start SouWester Spirits and how did the business idea come about?

I created this distillery back in 2017. We are artisan producers of barrel-aged gin and single malt whisky. We use locally-foraged native botanicals and unique dessert wine barrels from the Margaret River wine region to capture in a bottle the true essence of this pristine South-West coastal location where we reside. The idea for SouWester Spirits evolved when I was writing a story on Fraser Gallop’s Ice Pressed Chardonnay. I purchased two of the French oak barriques that housed this dessert wine and started experimenting with local botanicals to produce a gin.

2. How has the business evolved since then?

I’m still a one-person operation as it is very important for me to learn and manage every aspect of running a distillery. I now have a distributor in WA and will be expanding east coast operations later this year. I am in the midst of purchasing my third still and my barrel room has grown to now house five barrels.

3. What’s been your biggest challenge in small business?

While I have worked in the wine industry for 20 years, it has certainly been challenging learning everything I can about the distilling industry. There is always paperwork to complete and excise tax to pay. There is no local distilling association as it is still a relatively new industry in WA, so it’d be great to have a forum where local distillers could get together to offer advice and support.

4. What’s been your biggest achievement?

My biggest achievement is running this distillery on my own and managing this business, along with my journalism work, being a wife and a mother. It is certainly a juggling act. In terms of business achievements, I have entered our Iced Chardonnay Gin in only one competition and won the award for being the best barrel aged gin in WA.

5. What’s your local coffee shop?

I work from quite a few coffee shops, mainly Odyssea in City Beach, Hardware Cafe in Scarborough or Acai Bros in City Beach. Love the acai bowls!