On Saturday June 17, the sun was shining with a cool breeze blowing. It was perfect weather to be out and about with 12 friends and visitors to learn a bit more about two of the businesses on the island.
In the morning we visited Kangaroo Island Spirits (KIS), a boutique distillery which has been owned since 2005 by Jon and Sarah Lark. Their large property fronts onto Playford Highway.
We were welcomed by Jon who gave us an in-depth introduction to what they do – they make spirits, gin, vodka and liqueurs. All of the products are made in small batches on site, and often the distillery smells of roasting botanicals, citrus peel and wild fennel which go towards making their high-quality liqueurs and spirits. They offer free product tasting and serving suggestions, you can also get ice-cream and liqueurs as well as coffee, and many of us indulged, after the tour with Jon.
During our wander with Jon around his garden and plant nursery it was noted that there a quite few KI native plants, but many experimental plants have been introduced as they are specific to the creation of KIS’ products. Only a few of these plants are actually producing large quantities of fruits or flowers used in the production of their products.
Before we moved on to our next destination, many of us took the time to inspect a small portion of the July 6 2014 plantings. This area is a diverse plot, comprising a native grass seed orchard and a regionally significant plants seed orchard. It was very pleasing to note that only a few plants have died as a result of flooding.
Our second destination for the day was to KI Brewery and we were just in time to order our lunch from Narelle and Co. Some of us partook in trying the four beers (pale, amber and golden ale, stout) displayed on the tasting paddle with while others tried some of the other beverages or the wines available.
We were not the only customers, so Mike was kept busy in behind the wooden counter while the cooks were busy outside preparing and cooking meals. The seating is diverse in design, allowing for people to be seated with a good degree of privacy.
Mike said that he used Oregon timber sourced from the old Wisanger Park shearing shed for the wooden furniture and fittings, and he used old doors from the same shed to make up the tables. Mike was formerly a full-time builder but now he has little time to pursue this trade and he is now almost a full-time beer maker.
He designed and built the cellar door premises. He said that the hops are hand-planted, the concrete is hand-mixed and the beer is hand-built. They like to keep it simple. They use Kangaroo Island barley, hops, yeast and rain water, with no preservatives or additives.
Before we left, we noted that the two low slung hammocks in the back fence were being well used by some of the younger visitors.
The next meeting is our AGM. See The Islander for details.