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Scientists crafting sustainable Spirits at HillTilly’s off-grid Distillery

HillTilly Distillery – Saving the world one sip at a time

James and Sue Tilly’s off-grid bush property relies on the power of sunshine and the bubbling springs below, to produce the kaleidoscope of rainbow-coloured spirits that make up the HillTilly Distillery range.

The couple discovered their chemistry while studying Science at Flinders University in the 90’s, and later found the formula for fanciful flavoured alcohol.

Not afraid of a little experimenting, and running multiple stills due to their reliance on the weather Gods, the HillTilly range of spirits is fun, unique, made using sustainable practises, and delightfully more affordable than most.

Prior to project HillTilly, Science Teacher James, had been dabbling with home brewed beer, inspired by nearby brewery, Prancing Pony.

Sue was juggling multiple jobs and her dedication to rescuing wildlife – often rolling into the office with an orphaned joey or possum.

Savouring a Gin on the verandah of their bush retreat at Upper Sturt, pondering how they could generate an income without having to leave their 30 acres of bliss and their bushland friends, the Tillys had a lightbulb moment, which involved a few more glasses of Gin!

The HillTilly range definitely screams mad scientist, with a unique and fun explosion of colours and flavours.

Think seasonal Blackberry Gin, Blueberry, refreshing Fresh Lime, Ginger, Honey, Mandarin and the pinkest of Pink Gins – all made with four classic botanicals and infused with natural ingredients.

The flavour-popping Vodka range is just as spectacular. Pineapple Vodka, Choc Orange, Paw Paw and an unsweetened Coffee Vodka – like a short black, but 40 per cent more fun!

And the fun doesn’t stop there – HillTilly’s colour-changing Magic Gin combines the London Style Quarantini Gin, with its juniper, coriander, cardamon and citrus zest botanicals, with the blue Butterfly Pea flower, which causes a magical change of colour when mixed with Tonic.

Since perfecting the Magic colour changing Gin, James has been working on a new baby – Pequeno Diablo which is Spanish for Little Devil. Made with Mexican Agave syrup, Little Devil is on par with a Mexican Tequila, but made in SA!

The eco-friendly distilling process at HillTilly uses old school “hand-o-mation” practises – with local ingredients hand-picked and crushed using a mortar and pestle, people power used to fill bottles, print labels and make the unique badges each bottle wears. A water-saving device has also been constructed, using bulk containers and pond pumps to recycle the water which runs through the cooling jacket of the still, saving up to 1000 litres of water a day.

The “spirited” rainbow of bottled beverages is currently available online and at various weekend markets around the Hills, with the exciting prospect of a magical off-grid Cellar Door down the track.



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