SA Life

Get CityMag in your inbox. Subscribe
November 10, 2017

Introducing Ambleside Distillers

The Hills have a new gin distillery and tasting room just outside Hahndorf, run by the family Dickson.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  • Story: Johnny von Einem

Heading towards Hahndorf along Mount Barker Road, down a driveway on the left just before Ambleside Road, there exists a family-owned distillery two and a half years in the making.


Ambleside Distillers
1 Ambleside Road
Hahndorf, 5245

The tasting room will be open Friday through to Sunday from 11am to 5pm, with their soft launch 10-12 November. Head to Ambleside Distillers Facebook page for further updates.

Steve, Trudy and son Matt Dickson, have had this property for the last eight years, and upon Matt returning from a working holiday in London, they finally found a purpose for their beautiful expanse of Adelaide Hills scenery – Ambleside Distillers.

“We got interested in the idea and then decided to go and visit a few other local distilleries, Australian distilleries, to have a bit of a gauge on how they were doing things, and have a look at what direction they were taking their businesses in,” Matt says.

“I think that sort of opened our eyes a bit to [the fact] these other distilleries were started up by people that have day jobs, and they just had a passion… We thought, we’ve got this great property, we all really enjoy drinking gins, so why don’t we give it a crack?”

The interior of the tasting room is a mix of timber, brick and high ceilings, and the deck outside looks out onto an undulating landscape. All they needed to do was to make gins that live up to their surrounds.

Each of the family members developed a gin with a flavour profile matched to their tastes; Trudy’s recipe is heavily accented with citrus, Matt’s is a dry gin that makes use of jalapenos, and Steve’s is influenced by what’s accessible to him on their property, introducing native flavours.

The tasting room will offer tastes of all three gins, paired with locally-sourced platters, and served within view of the distilling room.

“The idea is, people come in and get a tasting flight of our gins, and then maybe they can select one gin that they liked out of the three, we make it into a cocktail or a gin and tonic, and they can enjoy the deck or sit down in here and relax,” Matt says.

“We want people to be enjoying the deck and the lovely weather and the surrounds… and we want to give them a bit of a rundown of what we’re about while they’re here so they come away with a bit of an experience.”

Provenance is an important factor for the family, and as the property develops, their plan is to grow more of their own produce to use in their products.

Ambleside Distillers is another in the growing list of producers based in the Adelaide Hills, and it’s a group that Trudy is proud to be a part of.

“We’ve been in the Hills for over 30 years, it is a real community up here,” Trudy says.

“It’s a great opportunity to be more of a part of the community. It’s wonderful to be able to do it here in such a special space, and it really offers something unique.”

“Why wouldn’t you want to share this with more people?” Steve says. “We get to enjoy it every day.”

Share —