After getting a taste for gin whilst at sea, former sailor and 1919 Distilling founder Soren Crabb crafted his first gin at home in 2016, taking advantage of New Zealand’s status as one of a handful of countries which legally allow home distilling.

“Let’s just say it was, well, ‘bold’,” the entrepreneur joked. “I continued playing around with new recipes until one evening I incorporated Otago cherries and Manuka honey. After tasting that, I knew I was onto something, and a couple of minor tweaks later the 1919 Classic recipe was born.”

Since then, the Auckland-based distillery has gone from strength to strength, and recently won the Alcohol category in the New Zealand Artisan Awards. 1919 recently released its first limited edition gin, produced on September 1 and simply called ‘1.9.19’.

“We got to push the boundaries of what we could do and used a combination of vapour infusion and maceration,” Crabb explained. “The response has been amazing and actually took us by surprise.”

Since then, the company has been conducting extensive research and development into its next limited edition ‘Kiwiana’ release, as well as scheduling the launch of a limited batch of whiskey. It’s still early days for the brand, but Crabb is enthusiastic about his product and confident in the consumer base.

“Gin is unique in that it can be so diverse, so consumers seeking lower-calorie options with plenty of flavour are able to experiment with ‘more-ish’ flavours – think the 1919 Classic with hints of citrus and subtle floral notes, or the Boysenberry by the team over at Blush. It’s an exciting time to be distilling gin.”