The team at Hoochery Distillery proudly declare their rum is created using traditional, inefficient, and labour-intensive methods! Their Ord River Rum is made by hand from nothing but Australian sugar cane, wet-season rainwater, and yeast. Clearly, it’s worth the effort as the distillery, just outside Kununurra has become a popular stop for those travelling through the picturesque Ord River Valley.
Built on the Dessert family farm Hoochery Distillery is the oldest continually operating ‘legal’ still in Western Australia. Everything from the still to the buildings at this small pot distillery was built entirely by hand using materials found around the farm. The Dessert family welcomes visitors all year round to sample their award-winning WA rum and, famous Ord River rum cake or cheesecake!
Raymond ‘Spike’ Dessert III will admit his family distillery is not the world’s prettiest, its rusted old shed standing in stark contrast to the Kimberley’s rich, vibrant colours. Spike fell in love with the remote Kimberley outback when he landed there in 1972. He put down stumps and began developing his seed business.
By 1995 the government was telling farmers to diversify. After a trip to the southern wineries, Spike arrived back home to the Kimberley thinking about the area’s fledgling sugar industry, perfect tropical climate, and considerable rainfall and an idea was born.
Spike was stubborn and independent, so he taught himself to distill. The goal… to make good, honest Australian rum. His idea paid off and decades later, Hoochery Distillery remains Western Australia’s oldest continuously operating (legal) still.
The Kimberley climate is ideal for maturing rum. The smooth, sophisticated finish comes as the rum moves around the barrel during warm days and cooler nights. To keep each blend individual and unique, every barrel is tasted individually and only the best ones are chosen for the blends.
The blended rum is then cut with fresh, wet-season rainwater, which fortunately is in plentiful supply in the Ord River Valley. Finally, each Ord River Rum is bottled and then sealed by hand. It takes time, skill, dedication, and care but Spike wouldn’t have it any other way.
Visit the 100% Australian-made, family-owned, and operated Hoochery Distillery on one of our Western Australian tours.
Hoochery’s award-winning Ord River Rums are still made in the same slow, painstakingly meticulous way – no measurements, no computers – everything comes down to the rum makers’ personal touch and taste.
Hoochery uses locally grown ingredients wherever possible, starting with Australian sugar cane, then adding yeast and fresh, Kimberley rainwater to ferment slowly in a vat for five days making a strong molasses brew.
The brew is distilled in Hoochery’s hand-made double-pot still to a lower alcohol percentage to keep the added flavours intact. The spirit is matured for anywhere between two to fifteen years, in 300-litre oak barrels that are all re-coopered and charred at Hoochery.
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