Growing up on a farm in Western Australia, distiller Catie Fry used to love finding herbs and flowers to make ‘potions’ for her mother. This love for all things from the earth is at the heart of her all-female distilling company Clovendoe Distilling Co.
Catie’s foray into distilling began after moving to Rockhampton from Sydney. Catie and her husband decided big city life was not serving them, so they packed up and brought a caravan to travel around Australia. When they arrived in Rockhampton, they stumble across a dilapidated pub. “It has always been a dream of my husbands to own a distillery, so we settled, knuckled down and started Saleyards, a rum and gin distillery,” she said.
As the only female investor in the distillery, Catie grew incredibly frustrated about not being taken seriously in the distilling process. So Catie watched and learnt, eventually setting up a little still in her kitchen. And once the kids were in bed, she would experiment and create incredible aromas and flavours using local and ethically sourced botanicals to flavour her spirits.
“It always irked me that just because I am a woman, my participation in the distilling side of things was not taken as seriously.”
In March 2019, on International Women’s Day, Catie decided it was time to step out on her own; she planted the seed for a move to establish her own company Clovendoe Distilling Co. With its unique range of zero proof and low alcohol (mid-strength) spirits, she launched three flavours – all three infusions have 21 different botanicals between them.
“Because distilling is traditionally a male-dominated industry, those gender stereotypes spilled through our other venture. Even though my main job in the distillery was to prep the botanicals, I found I was automatically disregarded from playing with the big still,” Catie said.
“I knew it was time to do something to make my mark.”
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