our story.

The name, Washhouse Distillery is a nod to where it all began – a backyard laundry – and the home of Waitoki’s very own gin.

It started out when three neighbours, living in a quiet rural cul-de-sac decided to join forces and make vodka in their laundry. Over several months, several failures and many batches later they began to combine science and art, and detail everything they were doing – all the while improving the quality of vodka produced using a simple reflux still. And this continues today – the neighbours, meeting up in the laundry, distilling vodka.

But it wasn’t enough to quell the curiosity of one, and Steve went on to attend distilling courses and explore different botanicals and processes. In early 2019 he purchased a beautiful handmade alquitar copper still, to which all our gin recipes are developed in today.

His ultimate goal was really just to make a good tasting gin. One that he enjoyed making and we enjoyed drinking – and without any pretence.

Along the way, the family joined the journey and every part of The Washhouse Distillery in Waitoki is handled by us.

then the whole family got involved…

Washhouse Distillery has been a real labour of love. Steve, Kathy and the three kids are all founders of the Washhouse, but it’s our extended family of friends, suppliers, drinkers and of course – the neighbours, that has made it what it is.

Just like our gin, we’re not pretentious…there’s no suffering of fools and we all have to have pretty thick skin to handle the wrath of our family digs. It’s kind of like the culture of the gin – what you see is what you get.

Our home is in the beautiful Waitoki village of New Zealand and we’re lucky to be surrounded by Paradise ducks, the odd wild deer, a few hundred year old trees and some bloody good neighbours.

everything is made by hand

We distil every batch on our property, at our home in Waitoki.

The first still we worked with to develop Waitoki Gin was a beautiful (small) handmade 5L copper alquitar still – which continues to be used today to experiment with new recipes.
Today, we use a copper alembic still, handmade in Portugal and commissioned in what used to be our garage.
It’s still small-batch (we only make up to 200 bottles per run), it’s still very manual – but that’s the way we like it. Or, at least – that’s the way Steve likes it and we think that’s the way it should be, for Waitoki Gin at least.

We measure up each and every ingredient in every batch…and then Steve sits next to it as it distils…

and we love our locals.