bushfire crisis

‘The Community Spirit’ is an initiative established through a collaboration between Nip of Courage, Spirits & Cocktails Australia and its members, as well as a number of Australian craft distilleries.


The Australian Bushfire Crisis has devastated communities across the nation, displacing families, destroying homes, and seriously damaging people’s livelihoods. Among those affected are Australian craft distillers, who, along with their families, have lost the ability to be self-sustainable throughout the crisis. In a bid to make a positive impact, Nip of Courage and Spirits & Cocktails Australia have come together in a collaborative project that aims to:

  • Support Australian craft distillers in bushfire affected regions, as well as their employees

  • Assist communities in rebuilding by supporting their local economies

  • Raise much needed funds that will aid numerous organisations contributing to fire relief.

The donation stock that forms the basis of this project has been purchased at full retail price directly from distilleries experiencing hardship as a direct result of the bushfires. This donation stock will then be used in industry bushfire relief fundraising efforts.

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Spirits & Cocktails Australia is a membership association representing the interests of spirit drinkers and all involved in the production, marketing and sale of spirits in Australia. Their vision is to promote and protect a spirits sector that  improves Australia’s drinking culture to create social and economic opportunities for future generations.


Spirits & Cocktails Australia is proud to partner with Nip of Courage and support Australian distillers through their sponsorship of ‘The Community Spirit’ initiative.




  • Since September 2019, bushfires have destroyed over 15 million acres across all states nation-wide.

  • Over 2,000 homes have been lost with thousands more being seriously threatened as residents risk their lives to defend their properties.

  • Thousands of people have been displaced from their communities after being left with no choice but to act on state-issued evacuation advice.

Australian craft distillers represent a significant proportion of local business and families that have been seriously impacted by the bushfire crisis.


In all cases, these independent craft distillers have lost their sole source of income, and consequently, their ability to support their families. Even after the initial blazes have subsided, these businesses will still feel the effects of the fires as it has been predicted that it will take weeks, even years, for communities to rebuild and entice tourists and travelers back to these regions.

If we, as supporters of local craft distillers, wish to see the industry continue to grow, diversify and advance, we must continue to support them (even it is from afar). Fire-affected distilleries and the ways in which you can show your support are listed below.



Joadja Distillery is located in the historic town of Joadja in the Southern Highlands of NSW. It is one of the only a handful of Single Malt Whisky distilleries in the world who grow their own barley and have their own spring on-site.

The entirety of the Joadja community had to be evacuated due to a number of out-of-control blazes surrounding the region. In addition to this, distillers Valero and Elisa Jamenez have been experiencing financial burden since the very beginning of the fire season. Due to the remote location of the distillery, it may only be open to the public when no fire bans are in place. The Jamenez's are currently relying on retail sales from their online store to keep them afloat until visitors may return. 

You can express your support by purchasing a bottle (or two) via the link below, or through Joadja Distillery's social media handles.

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Located in the picturesque Snowy Mountains, Wildbrumby Distillery sell a wide of range of award-winning liqueur schnapps, gin and vodka through their distillery door.

As well as distilling world-class spirits, founders Brad and Monika Spaldings’ mission is to create a haven for the arts to flourish, and a place for visitors to relax and be inspired.

Due to wide-spread fires in the region, Brad and Monika have been forced to close their doors for the first time in 16 years. They are now relying on retail sales through their online store to make ends meet.


While the Spalding's will not be able to showcase the full 'Wildbrumby experience' until visitors can safely return to the region, their range of spirits can still be purchased via their website. They are also keeping their supporters updated through social media, and hope to welcome visitors back to the distillery as soon as possible.

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Stony Creek Farm Distillery is located in what used to be a farm shed. Founders and distillers Gavin Hughes and Karen Touchie converted it into a distillery over a period of 12 months, putting in power and water and finally installing three beautiful alembic copper stills in October 2018. They did all the work themselves and couldn’t be prouder of the result.

Unfortunately, due to the catastrophic fires on the NSW South Coast, Gavin and Karen were forced to close their distillery before it's opening weekend to the public. Their 'Gin School' program was set to be hit among visitors to the region, however refunds were to be issued for the entire month of January as the fire risk was far too high.

Gavin and Karen hope to relaunch 'Gin School' come February, but for now, those wishing to show their support can purchase a couple of bottles from the 'North of Eden' gin range through the website. The distilling duo are currently working around the clock to keep the gin flowing and their business going. You can keep up-to-date with 'Gin School' updates through the distilleries various social media channels.

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Kangaroo Island Spirits was founded in 2002, when Jon and Sarah Lark set out to establish Australia's first dedicated gin distillery and create their product "the traditional way". The Lark's chose Kangaroo Island as their home because they recognised an emerging food and wine industry on the island, as well as a flourishing tourism base.

Like the many other producers on Kangaroo Island, Jon and Sarah have a distinct passion for their craft. Unfortunately, bushfire has ravaged much of the island, and limited the ability of producers to continue to create genuine artisan products for customers. The water supply has been contaminated, so Kangaroo Island Spirits are unable to produce at present. They will be relying on moving the remainder of their stock in their Adelaide warehouse to ensure they can return to distilling as soon as conditions will allow.

For every bottle sold, Kangaroo Island Spirits will be donating $10 to the KI Bushfire Appeal.

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Reed & Co. Distillery is a family owned and operated distillery in the alpine town of Bright, North Eastern Victoria offering a neighbourhood bar vibe. They are the makers of Remedy Gin which was born out of curiosity and
determination to create a truly local taste, and the experimental Spirit Lab range.


Independent distillers Hamish Nugent and Rachel Reed have been forced to leave their beloved gin distillery and restaurant along with their two young children, Lottie and Felix, as a result of multiple fires in the region. They have lost their only source of income during what is known as peak tourism season in Bright.

Hamish hopes that people will return to the region once authorities deem it safe to do so, however significant loss has already been felt by the community. Furthermore, he fears that people maybe afraid to do so for at least a couple of months, compounding the financial losses of local business. In the meantime, the wider Australian community can show their support by buying from Reed & Co. Distillery's online store. These sales are imperative in keeping Reed & Co. Distillery in business, and can allow Rachel and Hamish to support their staff and their families.

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Karu Distillery, owned and run by husband and wife duo Ally and Nick, is located in pristine, unotuched bushland just outside of Sydney NSW. The region, once serene, has felt the brutal effects of bushfires over the past month.

Like many businesses in the region, Karu Distillery has suffered as a result of almost zero tourist traffic. Their distillery still stands, however, their business has been drastically impacted. Ally and Nick hope that their online retail sales alone will be enough to get them through the remainder of the bushfire season.

Karu also hope to help their community, and will be donating a portion of their sales to a number of bushfire relief funds.

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Craft Works Distillery, located in country NSW, has felt the effects of what is being pinned as Australia's worst bushfire season on record.

Bushfires have impacted both the region itself as well as major arterial roads nearby. Craft Works Distillery operates mainly out of The Royal Hotel in Capertee, who's business predominately relies those traveling in and out of Mudgee. With what seems like endless road closures and warnings to avoid the area, Craft Works Distillery is beginning to feel the financial burden of a nation-wide crisis.

Head distiller Crafty will keep producing as long as conditions will allow, and is relying on online sales to ensure his business and craft can stay alive.

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Billson's Beechworth

Beechworth, vic

In 2017, Nathan and Felicity Cowan purchased the site known as 'Murray Brewery' in a bid to return it to it's former glory as Billson's Brewery. Now, the site offers much more than beer, with a range of sodas, cordials and spirits on offer as well.

Located in the High Country of Victoria, Nathan and Felicity have had to make difficult decisions regarding there new, blooming business amidst the national bushfire crisis. The brewery, speakeasy bar and eatery all faced closures as the region was engulfed in heavy smoke and imminent fire danger. Furthermore, Billson's have had and will continue to have a major decline in visitation in what is the busiest season of the year.

During this time, Felicity and her young son Charlie have been stationed down in Melbourne in an attempt to 'drum up some business'. Through their social media channel's, the Billson's team have encouraged those wanting to show their support to continue to buy their products from a list of retailers, or from their online store.

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corowa distilling co.

corowa, nsw

Corowa Distilling Co., owned by Dean Druce, is an Australian Whisky Distillery on the banks of the Murray River that is passionate about creating quality whisky with quality local ingredients.


Corowa Distilling Co. have generously 'donated' their beautiful venue for those who have has wedding plans interrupted by bushfires across the state. Fortunately, the property on which Corowa Distilling Co. stands was not directly impacted by fire, and so Dean was more than happy to help out those less fortunate.

Like many distilleries in regional centres during this fire season, Corowa Distilling Co. has been impacted by a loss of tourism. Those wanting to show their support can purchase a bottle or two from their online store.

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Bobinawarrah, vic

Hurdle Creek Still is a family owned & operated small batch distillery making gin with botanicals that they grow or forage locally when they can.

Many businesses like Hurdle Creek Still in the King Valley region have been impacted by a loss of tourism and forced closures. Those wanting to show their support can purchase a bottle or two from their online store.

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