May 25, 2022 | Stories

Meet the Maker

An interview with Head Distiller, Gordon Chalmers.

We talked to the man behind Tamborine Mountain Distillery’s Liqueurs & Spirits, Gordon Chalmers, to find out all about his amazing story of taking over this iconic family business, the inspiration behind his new gins, the distillation process and more.

What did you do before becoming TMD Head Distiller?

For over thirty years I have been involved in senior roles in the Process Control and Automation space, in a range of industries from Food and beverage through to Organic Skincare. I have won international awards for my work in the Green Formulation fields and much of my past experience has been put to good use developing the state of the art distillation systems we have built here on Tamborine Mountain.

What are your biggest challenges and greatest successes so far?

Building the Tamborine Mountain Distillery into the multi-faceted and very successful business it is today. However we have had to weather some real storms and and then the challenges of the global Covid Pandemic that decimated our international tourism and export markets. We also had to overcome the challenges of building state of the art distillation systems and factories without the use of town water or Council supplied sewage treatment systems. We have even taken this to the final stage of self sufficiency by designing a huge solar power system, that means we actually sell our excess energy back to the grid..

How would you describe the multi awarded Lilly Pilly Gin in 3 words?

The Gold Standard !

What is the inspiration behind the two new Gins?

The Ginger and Rhubarb Gin is a very popular UK combination and both these ingredients grow on the Mountain. The Davidson Plum is an extension of the liqueur range we pioneered in Australia over the last few decades and we have already has created some four drinks using this wonderful Rainforest super fruit.

Can you tell us more about the distillation process?

With over a hundred different Liqueurs and Spirits, we use a plethora of techniques in the fermenting, steeping and distillation phases of our production and no two drinks follow the same production pathways. We have also designed a unique large dual heated copper reflux still that can be used for all products and that in itself is very unique.

What’s your favourite way to drink TMD Gins?

I love the Ginger and Rhubarb Gin as I can drink it alone as a spicy Ginger spirit or with Tonic Water as a classic English style G & T.

What would you say about the experience of visiting the distillery?

Having started the Queensland Craft Distillery craze three decades ago, we obviously have so much more to show than those that have followed, and of course the history of the founders and all of our diverse backgrounds add such an intriguing blend of quirkiness to the mix. As the current winners of the ‘Scenic Rim Tourism Business of the Year’, we are getting so many more local customers visiting which is lovely to see. With nearly a hundred drink types available, an Apothecary style Museum, high tech fermentation and distillation facilities to see and beautiful rainforest gardens, it doesn’t get much better than that for a great day out.

What will the future hold for Tamborine Mountain Distillery ?

We are rapidly increasing our successful export business and have ongoing plans for a whole heap of new Australian botanical and locally produced fruit type drinks. We are also launching more educational tours, Gin and Vodka classes plus custom tours for those very special occasions.

It’s great to see someone love what they do, and even better when they’re as passionate about it as Gordon Chalmers. If you ever get the chance to visit Tamborine Mountain Distillery, be sure to ask for a tour and Gordon will take you through the distillation process himself.

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