Rum From Land Down Under 

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Australia is fast becoming a rum powerhouse. In the 1800s colonial times, they imported Jamaican and Bengali rum, and by the end of that century, Queensland distillers pioneered local rum making. Not so long ago, Australian rum was dominated by three large producers. But in the last decade, craft distillers have swelled that number, over 60 producers are showing on

Some modern distillers aim to emulate Caribbean-style rum, such as high-ester Jamaican or Barbados pot-distilled molasses rum, while others draw inspiration from cane juice Martinique Rhum Agricole, all with Australian provenance.

Many Australian distillers primarily focus on whisky, vodka, or gin, with rum taking a smaller role, similar to the situation in the US. Geography is the reason some big Australian rum producers are located in Queensland. With its rich red volcanic soils and tropical climate, it grows approx. 95% of the country’s sugarcane. The remaining 5% is grown in northern New South Wales (source Australian Government

Now that we’ve laid the foundations, let’s embark on an epic journey across Australia, starting in the most concentrated region of distillers.

New South Wales: Aussie Rum Epicentre

Archie Rose

Archie Rose Distillery 

Established in 2014 in Rosebery, South Sydney, this distillery has the Archie Rose bar & Cellar Door attached. This won The Spirits Business Awards for Distillery Consumer Experience and Distillery Bar of The Year at the Australian Bartender Awards in 2023.

Founder Will Edwards was inspired by a visit to the urban distillery Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn New York. He set up to produce Australian gin and whisky is their core focus. In rum, they have White Cane, an Aussie re-imagining of a white using sustainably sourced New South Wales molasses.

Their Triple Molasses rum is a navy-style rum, blending three types of New South Wales molasses matured in apera casks (an Australian sherry-style fortified wine). Trials & Exceptions series focuses on NSW New South Wales high-test molasses (heavy, partially inverted cane syrup) which is sustainably sourced.

Discover more at Archie Rose

Brix Distillers

Brix Distillers

Brix Distillers was founded in 2017 by rum-loving mates Damien Barrow, James Christopher, and Sid Soin in the Sydney suburb of Surry Hills. A sub-urban distillery and bar, restaurant with tours, a cocktail-making class, and rum-tasting flights. Brix is a term used in rum-making for measuring fermentable sugar before fermentation.

Last year Brix Introduced a new core range of rums produced entirely in-house called 100% Australian rum range. Using a hybrid still (pot still with a column) named Molly, an Australian-made copper pot still with a hybrid 5-plate column. It produces a range of spirits from light fresh cane spirit to bolder richer rums which are matured in Australian wine barrels.

Brix Rum has won numerous awards at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards and international awards. Brix Distillers has grown fast but has even bigger plans for a new Sydney distillery soon. Discover more at Brix Distillers

husk distillery

Husk Distillery 

Husk Rum is Australia’s first and only farm to bottle cultivated rum. Started in 2009, from a trip to Martinique by the founder Paul Messenger, inspired by AOC and Rhum Agricole, he registered a trademark with IP Australia for the term “Cultivated Australian Rum.”

This single-estate distillery pioneering Australia’s only virgin cane rum. The harvest season of July-November, in the dry season. The rums are column or pot distilled in a Forsyth still and reduced slowly with rainwater harvested from the distillery roof. Discover more at Husk Distillery 

winding road distillery

Winding Road Distilling Co.

Winding Road Distilling Co. was founded in 2017 by husband-and-wife team Mark and Camille Awad. Named after the local winding roads, they are a family-focused operation, committed to producing premium craft spirits that reflect their unique Australian heritage.

Winding Road’s location in the fertile sugarcane-growing region of northeast New South Wales allows the distillery to produce rum from fresh-pressed cane juice. Their expressions are among the finest in the country, having won numerous Gold and Double Gold medals. Most recently, their Coastal Cane Pure Single Rum was awarded the trophy for Best Rum at the prestigious 2023 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards.

Camille and Mark are dedicated to crafting the finest rums at Winding Road Distilling Co.; pure, unadulterated expressions that authentically capture the terroir of their local region. Ones to watch in Australian rum. Discover more at Winding Road Distilling Co.

keri of soltera rum

Cabarita Spirits – Soltera Rum

Located in Cabarita Beach in Northern New South Wales. Owner Keri Algar handcrafts single-origin rum in a custom-made 230L copper post still from locally sourced molasses (Condong Sugar Mill). Slow and long fermentations for barrel-aged products, quicker ferments for the unaged Blanco. There are no additives, sugar etc in her products. Keri is Australia’s only solo female rum distillery and has been operating for three years.

Discover more at Soltera Rum

lord byron distillery

Lord Byron Distillery 

Lord Byron Distillery, founded in 2016 by Brian and Helen Restall, brings their passion for spirits to the heart of Byron Bay, New South Wales. They make Pure Single Rum from 100% renewable energy and zero-waste. They also make gin but have been busy putting rum into a variety of casks to age for the future. Recently, they took delivery of 5 new copper pot stills to make even more rum. You can visit the distillery tour & have a tasting.

Discover more at Lord Byron Distillery 

There are more producers in New South Wales, find them here

Queensland – Rum’s Gold Coast 

bundy distillery

Bundaberg Rum

Bundaberg Rum goes back to 1888 on the banks of the Burnett River next to a sugar mill. Local sugarcane is grown on the rich, red volcanic soil in tropical Queensland. The distillery is a popular destination with immersive museum and distillery experience tours. It has a blend of your own rum experience, Bundaberg Rum Tasting Bar, and a gift shop for souvenirs.

Bought in 2000 by the British company Diageo, it’s been the market leader in Australian rum for generations. Uniquely, they distill in column stills and then in pot stills thereafter. This dark rum is famously served as a ‘Bundy and coke.’ 

However, in recent years the brand has released several premium bottlings. Reserve Limited Edition, Small Batch Distillery Edition, and the ‘sugarcane champagne’, Maison de Bundy Blanc de Cane; a special bottling of alcoholic ginger beer, blending white Queensland cane spirit with Bundy’s spicy ginger brew.

Bundaberg Rum Distillery was awarded gold in the 2023 Queensland Tourism Awards for their Distillery Visitor Experience and admitted into the Queensland Tourism Awards Hall of Fame. It’s a world-renowned tourist destination. Discover more at Bundaberg Rum 

beenleigh distillery

Beenleigh Artisan Distillery

Founded in 1884, Beenleigh rum is Australia’s oldest registered distillery, and the Gold Coast’s longest-running hospitality establishment. Offering a variety of experiences from tours, tastings, and masterclasses. Alongside the visitors’ centre and Artisan Rum Bar, the distillery has recently expanded to open the Distillery Restaurant. 

The distillery is home to ‘The Old Copper’ a unique copper pot still, and age rum in various casks from kauri pine vats, Australian brandy vats, and ex-bourbon casks. 

Beenleigh Rum is a tribute to the audacious pioneers of Australian entrepreneurship and legendary stories. The recent triumph at the Australian International Rum Awards (AIRA) solidifies Beenleigh’s standing on the global stage. The Beenleigh Double Cask earned an impressive 94 points, secured the coveted title of the best Pot and Column still rum, along with a well-deserved Double Gold.

Australia’s locally crafted rums, including the Beenleigh Australian Rum and their Pacific Drifter brand, are gaining international prominence. The success is attributed to Australians’ affinity for a ‘support local’ ethos and favouring independently owned producers.

As Beenleigh continues to make waves, it stands as a testament to the thriving landscape of Australian spirits. Discover more at Beenleigh Artisan Distillery

inner circle

Inner Circle Rum 

Inner Circle Rum has a history dating back to the 1950s when the brand was first released in Australia. It was bottled in three strengths, which in turn were identified by coloured dots. It was produced and sourced from Fiji sugar cane rum by the now-defunct Colonial Sugar Refinery.

Today, it’s now fully Australian-owned and made at the Beenleigh Artisan Distillery using traditional pot stills. So, you can visit Beenleigh Artisan Distillery to learn about this highly sought-after brand by rum geeks. The 33% Overproof black dot has been renamed Black Dot 33 Navy Strength, and higher strength than the Green Spot at 57.2%. Inner Circle Black 5-Year-Old Cask Strength Rum has become a modern legend. Discover more at Inner Circle Rum

kalki moon

Kalki Moon Distilling

Founded in 2017 by Rick Prosser in Bundaberg beside the cane fields. The name Kalki Moon comes from a full moon seen by the founder in their Bundaberg suburb, Kalkie. It’s a multi-generation family-run business, which began as a small-batch rum distillery, and launched gin and vodka as the rum aged. They make funky pot-distilled molasses rum.

The first sugarcane spirit they released was Plant Cane – the beginning of the Cane Farmer Series of premium rum and cane spirit. It’s the artisan rum distillery compared to the town’s larger rum distillery and worth seeking out. Kalki Moon has gained recognition for their award-winning gin, and the future looks promising for their rum too. Discover more at Kalki Moon Distilling 

Milton distillery

Milton Rum Distillery

In Brisbane, Milton Rum Distillery was established in 2018 by Alexander Bell and Asa Boardman, as a community of distillers dedicated to reimagining Australian rum. They blend traditional techniques with modern innovations to produce creatively distinct spirits.

“Our goal was to resurrect the historic Milton Distillery, lost in the 1890 flood. After facing a similar fate in 2022, we relocated to Albion. Our new facility features an innovative miniaturised continuous still, enabling us to craft various rum styles from around the globe.

Despite challenges, we’ve earned international recognition, including the Australian Rum Distillery of the Year at MISC 2020 and numerous accolades at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition and the Australian Distilled Spirit Awards.

2024 marks a pivotal year for us. Fully recovered from the floods, we’re reigniting our barrelling program and exploring new frontiers in rum production.” Says Alexander Bell. Discover more at Milton Rum Distillery 

nil desperandum

Nil Desperandum Rum

Founded in 2020, this Australian Certified Organic Distillery is located in the lush Sunshine Coast hinterland rainforest, Queensland, Australia. Head Distiller, Adam Chapman embodies our pursuit to make Australia’s Finest Rum. 

Nil Desperandum means nothing to despair. In 1871 this ambitious declaration glittered in gold on the town’s first pub. Today it’s known all over the world as Australia’s iconic expression of easy-going optimism – regardless of the circumstances: no worries. 

Australia Certified Organic rum, is wild fermented, using locally sourced molasses, Woombye water, dunder, and muck. Double pot distilled, then aged for a Minimum Of 2 Years in bourbon barrels emptied of sherry and port – on Australia’s beautiful sub-tropical Sunshine Coast. 

This is 100% pure unadulterated rum, with no additives, no added sugar, sweeteners, caramel, flavours, or colours. It gives you an idea of who they are and why they do it. Discover more at Nil Desperandum 

murray river 1

South Australia: Home of Dry-Aged Rum

Justin Boseley of Adelaide-based Dead Reckoning Rum, to his knowledge, is the only independent bottler who ages rum in Australia and buys from Australian distilleries to export into the US & the EU. Here he explains Australian dry-aged rum:

“We are often asked what is this that you put on Dead Reckoning labels. South Australia is one of the very few geographical locations in Australia where ageing rum can rapidly increase the ABV (alcohol by volume). Water molecules evaporate faster than the alcohol and you’re left with a pure and intense flavour profile.

In the north of the state, its full-blown desert aged effect, which can lead to a 5% abv rise in 1 year in the barrel, and producers don’t temperature control ageing facilities, we let nature take its course.

This abv rise in the barrel is in sharp contrast to decreasing abv everywhere else in tropical ageing. South Australia’s climate can have 49C in the summer, and minus temperatures in winter, a volatile yet low humidity rum-defining climate. Going slightly higher in altitude like the Adelaide Hills is more akin to Scotland’s ‘angels share’ losses.

South Australia’s wine regions have long known this fact and continue to produce some of the highest-awarded and sought-after wines in the world. The flavour profile of Dead Reckonings Australian dry aged rums is a testament to this phenomenon.” Discover more at Dead Reckoning Rum

23rd street distillery

23rd Street Distillery 

Once a winery site with a history going back to 1914, this distillery is named after its opening on the 23rd of September 2016. It’s a modern distillery in Renmark, nearly 3 hour’s drive East of Adelaide, and is family-owned by Vok Beverages the sister company of Bickford’s Group (founded in 1839) who own Beenleigh Rum.

In this incredibly dry part of South Australia, the distillery calls arid conditions ‘Arid Desert Aging’ – when the abv escalates during maturation as described above. A wide range of spirits are made from gin, vodka, whisky, brandy, and rum.

23rd Street Distillery Signature Rum is made from fermented Australian sugarcane juice and double distilled in their unique three South Australian-built copper stills. It’s then aged in ex-Bourbon barrels. They won Double Gold, SIP Awards 2020. The distillery hosts tours, and functions, and has a restaurant and a welcome stop on the Riverland route of conservation parks, and the famous Murray River. Discover more at 23rd Street Distillery 

mad monkey

Mad Monkey Distillery

Founded in 2018, Mad Monkey Distillery is an urban distillery just north of Adelaide centre in Dudley Park. Inspired by a chance meeting by founders Scott McCarthy and Alec McDowall who met in Barossa Valley, at a gathering of distillers from across Australia.

This craft distillery has a bar, and Tiki-inspired outdoor seating, hosting events and serving rum cocktails. Using New South Wales molasses from the Condong, Broadwater, and Harwood Sugar Mills, they pot distill and

In 2023, in the Royal Australian Spirit Awards (RASA) they won the Champion Rum award for their Pure Single Rum in ex-Tawny Cask. Discover more at Mad Monkey Distillery 

tin shed distillers

Tin Shed Distilling Co 

Ian Schmidt and Vic Orlow have been distilling in Adelaide for 20 years. They launched Tin Shed Distilling Co. in 2013 making spirits, mostly whisky, in South Australia’s harsh dry-aged environment. Low humidity and temperatures that vary from 4C to 45C yield great results. It’s challenging, but the rewards are worth it.

In a couple of months, they will be relocating the distillery from their shed on the Adelaide Plains to the slightly less challenging Adelaide Hills, where they expect maturation should be a little bit easier. Single Malt is their focus, but have always made a small amount of rum for those who appreciate it.

Using the same techniques and equipment for both, and releasing just one rum batch a year. The current release is Requiem Rum Admella, aged 6 years in the dry climate. They prefer making a whisky drinker’s style, which has been recognised for gold medals and champion trophies. Discover more at Tin Shed Distilling Co



Cooler climate Tassie is more famous for its whisky than rum, but the island is growing as a rum-making destination.

hellfire bluff distillery

Hellfire Bluff Distillery

Founded in 2016, Hellfire Bluff Distillery makes potato vodka, gin, and rum. Diversifying from their potato farming business, rum is not their core product, but they produce some interesting small-batch rums.

The distillery overlooks Hellfire Bluff a rocky out-crop above Marion Bay on the remote southeast coast of Tasmania. Their focus is small-batch craft spirits; fermented, distilled, matured, and bottled on-site.

They benefit from cool climate ageing and present dark rums in batch bottlings like the third rum release; Hellfire Tasmanian Rum Batch 003 finished a Muscat cask which was awarded Silver Medal at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards in 2023. Discover more at Hellfire Bluff Distillery

new norfolk barrels

New Norfolk Distillery

Anchored in Tasmania on the southern edge of Australia, New Norfolk Distillery is the state’s only rum-dedicated distillery. From a former asylum, they nurture rum for rebellious spirits.

New Norfolk Distillery’s range includes cool climate pure single cask aged rums, a wild fermented overproof spirit, and a variety of rum-based liqueurs. These are all created from A-grade molasses ferments and then double distilled in their copper pot still named Ripley.

Their mission is to reinvigorate the love for rum in Australia – particularly as a sipping spirit. Their ‘Drone Riot’ won a Trophy for Best Cane Spirit at the Australian Rum Awards. This year, they will be expanding their cellar door offering and distribution channels so that more people can enjoy their uniquely crafted rum. Discover the story at New Norfolk Distillery 

Observatory Hill Winery west of Hobart is rare in it must be one of the few wineries in the world to distill rum. It presents All’s Gone Rum, and supplies and stores rum for Island Coast Spirits.

west australia

Western Australia: Wild West Pioneers 

The landscape of Western Australia is characterised by broad plateaus intersected by mountain ranges, with vast deserts lying to the east. From the far north Kimberley region, through wild and rugged forests and vineyards, to a coastline dotted with reefs in the southwest.

illegal tender distillery

Illegal Tender Rum Co

Codie and Hayley Palmer are the visionary duo behind Illegal Tender Distilling Co. crafted exclusively from 100% Australian ingredients. Codie’s engineering prowess takes centre stage with “The Beast,” a remarkable four-plate Column Still that plays a pivotal role in the meticulous two-stage rum-making process. The initial “stripping run” swiftly extracts alcohol, setting the stage for the unique introduction of water in the subsequent stage. Codie’s distinctive technique ensures a lusciously rich and smooth flavour profile that defines their exceptional spirits.

The journey to success wasn’t without its challenges. Codie’s bold decision to leave his job and pursue his dream encountered hurdles, particularly in navigating the intricate regulatory landscape and excise taxes. However, the path they chose has been adorned with accolades, boasting an impressive 24 World Spirit Awards, including three World’s Best titles in the competitive Column Still Rum 2–5-year category.

Recently honoured with the 2024 WAGFG Spirit of the Year awards for the Distillers Cut. Illegal Tender Distilling Co. continues to expand its repertoire. Their diverse offerings include three distinctive rum varieties; Distillers Cut, 1808 Barely Legal, and Bushtucker Spiced. Despite challenges, Illegal Tender Distilling Co. remains committed to crafting uniquely West Australian rum. Discover more at Illegal Tender Distilling Co.

hoochery distillery

Hoochery Distillery

Founded in 1995 Hoochery Distillery is Western Australia’s most remote distillery. Founded by Raymond ‘Spike’ Dessert III, a pioneering American farmer distiller who settled there in 1972. A farm-based microdistillery located in Kununurra, in the Ord River Valley in the remote northern Kimberly outback.

As Western Australia’s oldest continually operating legal still, they make a wide range of rums from overproof, charcoal filtered, Ord River Rum, Spike’s Reserve in numbered ages, and limited-release blended rums. The Cellar Door is closed over the summer, and reopen in March. The café and outdoor seating are a hub and a popular spot with tour groups They provide daily tours and are a must-visit if in the region. And, we hear their Ord River Rum Cake is pretty good!

Their rum is 100% Australian made from Australian sugarcane, wet season rainwater, 5-day vat-fermented, then put through a self-made double pot still, and aged in a 300-litre oak barrel – and finally hand-bottled. Hoochery’s Premium Ord River Rum won best Australian rum at Dan Murphy’s 2023 Decoded Spirits Awards. Discover more at Hoochery Distillery

kimberley rum co

Kimberley Rum Co 

In Perth’s outskirts just 30 minutes from downtown in the Swan Valley, this rum distillery was founded in 1996 by Rohan Passmore. Kimberley Rum Co is owned and operated by the Passmore Family and produced at the Great Northern Distillery.

The distillery hosts a tasting room, cocktail club, private functions, and events. Cane Fire Rum is the core brand range, Canefire Backburn is the overproof dark rum and Canefire numbered batches are from multiple casks blended together from ex-bourbon, Shiraz, French oak, etc, and bottled at different ages. The rum is made with raw unrefined brown sugar with a long fermentation and triple distilled.

There’s also an ultra-premium range called the Kimberley Rum Co Small Batch annual releases. This a limited-edition single barrel of their best barrel strength Canefire Rum which is cut down with Swan Valley Port. If visiting, check out their charcuterie pack which includes rum in the pâté! Discover more at Kimberley Rum Co 

Victoria: Rising Stars in The Garden State

JimmyRum distillery

JimmyRum Distillery

South of Melbourne, head distiller, and founder James McPherson opened JimmyRum 2018 in Dromana, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. It was the coast region’s first craft rum distillery. The distillery has a cocktail bar and hosts events and various masterclasses including a Mojito tasting paddle and regular Tasting Bench tours sitting in front of their beloved Still called Matilda.

JimmyRum source molasses from northern New South Wales distills it on a 1,500L Italian copper hybrid column still and aged in ex-Bourbon barrels. The RumRum range consists of single-cask or small-batch blends from silver, navy, cask strength, and oaked expressions. JimmyRum Navy won best Australian Cane spirit; two Golds and three Silvers at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards 2023. Discover more at JimmyRum Distillery

killki rum

Killik Handcrafted Rum 

In the picturesque Dandenong Ranges, an hour east of Melbourne is a pioneering high-ester rum distillery. A remarkable transformation from an old brewery; owners Ben & Callan Pratt had experimented with open fermentation lambic-style beers and backyard distilling. Today, they make rum from a double fermentation; using muck and dunder pits to impart distinctive stone fruit and overripe fruit aromas.

For those seeking an immersive experience, they have two locations; the spiritual home in Belgrave is a kitchen and cocktail bar, and the distillery in Ferntree Gully, just below the mountain, promises an enchanting visit.

Killik avoids fads and focuses on rum not just for the love of it but for experimentation and fermentation freedom. A challenging journey, especially within Australia’s young rum scene and influx of international rum brands. Nevertheless, they firmly believe in rum’s potential, and mission to elevate its profile across Australia, fostering appreciation and respect for its diversity.

The vision is a future of sought-after, cherished high-ester pot-distilled rum in Australia. The aspiration is for people to actively seek out this unique rum, and contribute to the growing legacy and reputation of Australian Rum. Discover more at Killik Handcrafted Rum

Hope you enjoyed the tour, these are just a selection of the rum distilleries driving Australian rum today, you can find more on our map, on their profiles are fast facts to help you plan your trip. An adventure of a lifetime awaits

aussie map

Here’s some takeaways about Australian rum and visiting their distilleries

For all its history, Australian rum is still relatively young and developing. A definitive ‘style’ is yet to be determined or bolted down, but it is getting closer.

Current tax and export barriers are a big challenge for all Australian rum brands just now, so it’s a good time to support a local business.

A few pointers for exploring Australian rum distilleries:

  • Book ahead is the best policy, distillers can be remote, and you can check their profiles on our map beforehand.
  • As local destinations, it’s common to find charcuterie boards as a menu-stable.
  • The harsh climate impacts production, some close in summer months, so check their opening hours.
  • Below 2 years old it’s not rum, it’s labelled ‘Cane Spirit’ in Australia.
  • As distillers open or close, use RumGeography as your most up-to-date guide. 

Australia awaits your biggest rum adventure to date, go explore and see for yourself these incredible distilleries!

We’d like to give a special thanks to rum friends and all producers in Australia for contributing to this article; Nil Deperandum, New Norfolk Distillery, Kilik Rum, Winding Road Distilling Co, Beenleigh Artisan Distillery, Milton Rum Distillery, Illegal Tender Rum, and Dead Reckoning Rum.

Image credits to the contributing brands and sharing platforms

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