12 April 2024

Moonshiner Cottage the next step for Tumbarumba's Ladbrook family

| Vanessa Hayden
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Man and woman seated on a couch

Robbie and Neil Ladbrook now have accommodation available at their Ladbroken Distilling Co in Tumbarumba allowing guests to ‘gindulge’ themselves in the ‘orchard to bottle’ experience during a stay, discovering the art of distillation and savouring the flavours crafted onsite. Photo: Supplied.

Self-confessed science geek and gin distiller Robbie Ladbrook has turned her love of adventuring in the high country into a thriving business.

Robbie and husband Neil have just opened Moonshiner Cottage as an extension of their Tumbarumba business Ladbroken Distilling Co, which produces all-natural gin, whisky, liqueurs and vodka.

Ladbroken was established in 2020 and, in addition to the three-bedroom accommodation just launched, the couple has also extended their cellar door so that more people can ‘gin-dulge’ in what they have to offer.

“Neil and I and the kids spent many fond years adventuring in the high country and when we decided to start on this big adventure of building a distillery, we looked about to find the right premises,” said Robbie.

“We fell in love with Tumbarumba and the place we now call Moonshiner Cottage.”

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Surrounded by three acres, close to town, and overlooking the tumbling Tumbarumba Creek, the property ticked all the boxes and had the right zoning, access and space to fit their recipe for a successful business.

“The property had a lot of potential to build a bit of a precinct around the business and the existing cottage was the perfect weekender for us while we got it established.”

The three-bedroom cottage gives a nod to the days when stills were hidden in the hills and brews were crafted in the darkness of the night and by the light of the moon. Photo: Supplied.

Now guests can immerse themselves in the ‘orchard to bottle’ experience during a stay, discovering the art of distillation and savouring the flavours crafted onsite.

“People love to be able to see the production side of the things they consume. It’s really exciting to see agritourism developing in the area and the increasing network of growers, producers and farmgate businesses in the Snowy Valleys.

“I am a science geek, an artist and an educator at heart, I have been teaching in some capacity since I was 14.

“I am pretty passionate about showcasing the region and I love helping people open up to new experiences, to learn and to explore the world around them.

“Hosting guests is a natural extension of that and I am fortunate enough to be part of helping create and craft amazing memories with the people who visit us.”

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She admits she has had a lifelong (adult) love affair with gin, promoting its appeal as a refreshing beverage that’s not sweet and which can capture the flavours of a region.

“The ginaissance of the last decade has really let people explore a vast array of native and exotic botanicals and understand the fascinating history of this beverage,” she said.

“There really is a gin for every season and every mood or palate. I should know, I have crafted 14 different releases so far.”

The cottage gives a nod to the history of producing the secretive mountain spirits or “Moonshine”, a centuries old practise of farmers, usually undertaken in the darkness of the night (and light of the moon).

The stills, hidden away in the hills to avoid the taxman’s gaze, would be lovingly tended to by the old-timers, turning their brews into “sweetwater” and crafting local liquor with skill and tradition.

“The styling of the cottage reflects the botanical obsession that underlies our own Eliksir Gin, with natural history collections on display which we have foraged and collected from our walks in the surrounding forests and valleys,” said Robbie.

Robbie and Neil’s initial vision for the business always included the idea of being able to stay onsite and enjoy all there is to see and do in the area without worrying about transport or designated drivers.

You’ll now find more undercover space at Ladbroken’s cellar door along with a nice warm fireplace to sit by while you sip and savour Neil and Robbie’s lovingly crafted spirits. Photo: Supplied.

“Our regular workshops and cocktail clubs are always popular but people always want to stay and do more,” Robbie said.

“Having the onsite accommodation will really allow us to offer more of those group activities – groups of couples travelling together, girls’ weekends away, people exploring agriculture, things like that.

“It is keeping me busy though!

“It’s effectively running another new business on top of our current commitments as well as maintaining a high level of presentation in everything we do.”

The husband-and-wife team has also invested in renovating their cellar door space.

Opened two years ago, the small but glamourous cellar door was well received by visitors but limited in its capacity to host larger numbers in the colder months and in wet weather.

Ginthusiasts will now find more outdoor undercover space, a cosy fireplace and lounge area and a coffee machine at the location.

Ladbroken’s cellar door opens 11 am to 5 pm Fridays, and 10 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sundays. Upcoming events, workshops and cocktail clubs are advertised on Ladbroken website and socials.

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