What started out as a hobby grew into a passion. They say every brewer wants to grow up to be a distiller and this has certainly proved true with the owners – Wayne and Kathy Chowles. The journey started ten years ago with a batch of over ripe Feijoa and a tiny still which turned out the first batch of very average spirits, but ignited a spark. Since then we have spent many hours reading, learning and experimenting until we arrived at the point where we could call our work “fine Spirits”.
Two years ago, Inspired by old stories of the gold mining era and Wayne’s background in the mining industry, we embarked on an adventure, to create a hand crafted/single batch gin which would celebrate the heritage of the area in which we live, the land, the people and the history of the Karangahake Gorge and surrounding areas.
In September 2020 Kaimai Brewing & Distilling Co. was born with the release of “Eliza’s Claim” Gold gin, which was crafted in our distillery based at the historic Waikino Hotel in the Karangahake Gorge. Our gin is proofed with pure artisan spring water and infused with a range of locally and internationally sourced botanicals which combine to create a truly unique flavour. We are humbled to say that our patience and attention to detail has been rewarded with a Gold Medal Award in the 2021 New Zealand Spirits Awards.