The story of our first whisky launch
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The story of our first whisky launch

Aug 11, 2023

August is a special month for us at Backwoods. It's our 6th birthday and the anniversary of our very first whisky release! When I think back on that exciting time, I remember that there's a pretty interesting story behind it all. I'd love to share it with you now if you're interested!

Let's go back to August 2019 when Backwoods was two years old. We still had our day jobs and spent weekends filling casks. As our first barrels approached the two-year mark, we were anxious about selecting our first releases.

Bree and Leigh working in their shed distillery on a mash dayย Racks of whisky barrels in the Backwoods bond store

Enter Jules and Brooke from renowned Melbourne whisky bar, Whisky and Alement, who became instant supporters of our efforts. They made the trek to Yackandandah that August with their exceptional bar staff and tried casks in our bond store. Their feedback, including humbling tasting notes and some happy dancing from Jules, was a significant boost to our confidence, and we started planning our whisky debut.

The team from Whisky and Alement in the Backwoods bond store

In January 2020, we took over a new space with the aim of opening in August 2020 for our whisky launch. Whisky and Alement had also offered to host our Melbourne launch at their bar. But then, well, you know what happened...

Our plans for opening the venue and launching the whisky were put on hold, and we were uncertain about what to do. Once again, the Whisky and Alement team came to our rescue, offering to host our virtual launch. They promoted it, sent out the tasting packs, and had Miranda (the whisky goddess) lead the tasting.

Tasting packs for our first release launch

The launch was a massive success, and it exceeded our original pre-COVID plan. Thanks to our incredible Founders' Club members, who had signed up for a bottle two years earlier, and the support of Whisky and Alement, we sold out of our first batches (both the single malt and rye whisky release) within 24 hours.

Bottle of single malt and rye whisky. Backwoods first releases.

We can't even tell you how incredible that was for us. To burst on the whisky scene with an entry like that, well, it still gives us such pride. And it would not have been possible without the support of Whisky and Alement. So, a huge salute to you, Jules and Brooke and your incredible team. Thank you for being such an important part of our story.