Ever had the urge to split from your home and job and go and make hard liquor in remote South America? I haven’t before but I sure do now.
From October this year, if you find yourself stumbling out of the Cordillera Paine looking for something to slake your thirst, you’ll find some good stuff.
Australian engineers Kiera and Matt are former coal miners who were on a good wicket in Queensland. A combination of choices and life events have led them about as far away from the black dust as you can get.
When Kiera was made redundant and Matt quit his job, they flogged all their possessions and fled to South America for a language immersion holiday. Then:
“We can’t remember which of us said it first, but we were feeling battered and broken after a gruelling hiking experience in Torres del Paine national park and we were searching for a fireplace and a strong drink. “We could build a whisky distillery in Puerto Natales!” “Why not?” ….we never could think of any good reasons not to, so we put our heads down and did it.”
Cue a 6 week 55 distillery world tour where they collected ideas, flavours and hangovers. All of this, invaluable in the creation of their own brand.
“We were blown away by the generosity and level of helpfulness offered by so many of the smaller distilleries we went to! The industry has a culture of information-sharing and helping each other out- it’s awesome and we’ve benefited soooo much from it.”
Eventually, they landed back in Puerto Natales on the doorstep of the Torres del Paine. Kind of like when Jake Sully decides he’s going to help the Navi defend the home tree, without initial help or belief, they began to build their little distillery that could.
Fast forward to now and The Last Hope distillery is churning out grog with the best of them. They are creating unique spirits and cocktails for locals and travellers alike. Their liquors aim to showcase the vast scale and epic vistas of the location and adopt their flavours from local botanicals and grain.
Last Hope Distillery open fo bidness.