Tess and Jake Eaglesham are a true embodiment of their favourite saying; if you’re waiting for the right time to do something, it’s probably too late. Last year saw them welcome their first baby, hold down full time jobs, and survive many a COVID lockdown. For most people, that might be enough on their plate, but the couple from the Riverina region in New South Wales threw themselves in the deep end and launched their dream - Riverina Gin.
After starting out with 144 bottles on December 15, 2020, Tess and Jake crossed their fingers that at least a few would be snapped up by family and friends. When the first order from a stranger came in, they danced around the kitchen and celebrated with a gin, of course. By Christmas Eve, all 144 bottles had sold.
The seed for Riverina Gin began to grow in 2016 when Riverina born and bred Tess travelled with Jake back to his home country of Scotland. Whisky distilleries have a long history in the Scottish Highlands but the couple noticed gin had begun to rear its head across the region. They bought shares in a community-owned distillery rejuvenating the local town, bringing jobs in and sharing stories of local homegrown success across the Scottish Highlands.
It’s that sense of community that’s at the heart of their newly-created, family owned business. The couple has a strong bond with the Riverina community, the lifestyle and the people. They source local products to go into the gin and are strong advocates for agriculture across the Riverina. Tess says they’ve been supported by both their own community and further afield.
“I think there's been a real shift in consumer consciousness and consumer trends in this area and rural Australia as a whole,” she says.
“Consumers are really conscious of where their products come from, who's making them, where they're sourcing their ingredients and people are just really keen at the moment to support local businesses more than we've ever seen before.”
And when you’ve founded a business on the promise to make bloody great gin, bring people together and create exceptional experiences for rural communities, what better way than to kick-off the Riverina Gin Club? With their gin now being enjoyed in many a home, Tess and Jake have focused on giving back to the folk who love getting together for a jolly good time. Jake says they’re looking forward to bringing everyone along for the ride.
“Our customers have been very encouraging and always offering opinions and honest feedback and in return we’re going to throw a big Riverina Gin Club party,” he says.
“These are people that we hope in a few years, or whenever we set up a distillery, will be there with us.”
Investing in a distillery is next on the cards for Riverina Gin. At the moment Jake creates the magic in a distillery in Bright, Victoria. While Tess and Jake both agree that it enabled them to test the market and launch with a product in hand, they’d love nothing more than to bring their own distillery to the Riverina.
With Jake’s gift for storytelling and his people pleaser personality, and Tess’s organisational wizardry that keeps Jake grounded with those pesky tasks like tax and invoices, the pair have their sights set on a big future for Riverina Gin.
“It’s been such an exciting journey and we can’t wait to see where it goes. This is only the start,” Jake says.
And the best way to support Riverina Gin? It’s pretty simple.
“Buy the gin, drink it and have a bloody good time,” Jake laughs.