Female Distillers in Focus: Brogan Carr of Brogan's Way
Since the dawn of the 21st century, gin making has enjoyed a comeback.
Previously known as “Mother’s Ruin”, gin suffered a mixed reputation, and was dominated by a handful of brands making fairly similar styles of juniper-heavy, piney traditional spirit.
These days there are more high quality producers and top-notch gins than ever before. And the people behind them have changed; no longer is gin the reserve of a few ancient British companies with Victorian-era names, we can now enjoy fantastic gins made right here in Australia, by exciting new distilleries with diverse teams.
For 2021, the theme of International Women’s Day is “Women in Leadership.” Here at Gin Loot, we are shining a light on the excellent work being done by female distillers in the Australian industry.
Brogan Carr is certainly one such woman in leadership: she is one of few women anywhere in the world to have a distillery named after her – Brogan’s Way, found in the heart of Melbourne’s fashionable Richmond district.
Brogan is a scientist by training, having qualified as a medical laboratory scientist. Whilst she enjoyed her previous life, particularly the rigor and investigative nature required by medical science, she felt a yearning to get out of the labs.
With this in mind, she went back to school, retraining as a distiller through Heriot Watt’s famed Science Brewing and Distilling Masters. She puts her role quite simply: “I make gin. More accurately, I’m a distiller, but it’s gin that has shaped my way.”
For Brogan, distilling combines what she enjoys about science with a new sense of creativity: “Distilling has brought a new perspective to what I love about science. It brings a refined twist to the old ways… and it’s a lot more delicious.”
But it’s not all just about labs and stills and science, flavour is of crucial importance too – particularly, Australian flavours: “You’ll find a lot of unique Australian botanicals in my gins – there are so many interesting possibilities when you bring these native flavours together.” Like many drinkers, Brogan was tired of the standard gin offerings available, and looked to shake up preconceptions: “I want to challenge the ingrained concept of what gin is, and show how diverse it can be.”
Moreover, Brogan’s method is inspired by a sense of community and fun so often a part of the gin-drinking experience. Brogan’s Way is a method that attempts to connect drinkers to the gin, to one another, and to the moment: “more importantly for me, there is a gin for every moment. Every day is full of meaningful moments, which is what I try to bring to my way of making gin.”
Of course, working in an industry that has traditionally been so male dominated brings its challenges. For Brogan, though, the encouragement of her peers has been vital: “I’m so appreciative of the support I’ve had from fellow distillers”. Now established in the industry, she’s sought to give a little back by judging competition and sitting on panels where she can share her knowledge and encourage female distillers. As Brogan herself puts it: “It’s a great time for a woman to join the craft distilling industry, especially in Australia”
We were lucky enough to get our hands on some of Brogan’s wonderful spirit for our special edition International Women’s Day Gin Loot box. Her ‘Evening Light’ gin was designed for enjoying in backyards, barbecues and verandas as the night draws in, and serves up notes of zesty citrus and fresh berries.
For Brogan “teaming up with Gin Loot is a wonderful way to showcase the wonderful and creative work being done by other Australian female distillers.” There’s no better way to honour her work, and that of other female distillers than by picking up an International Women’s Day Box here.