Beenleigh 2013, the new arrival from australia’s oldest distillery

25 luglio 2023

Following two exciting releases – 2006 15 Y.O. and 2015 5 Y.O. Desert Maturation – Beenleigh has now released the Single Vintage 2013, a rum produced from molasses entirely produced and processed in Queensland and fermented for 3-4 days. 

Distilled from a single column still and then again from a pot still in August and September 2013, this rum has been ageing for 10 years in ex-bourbon barrels at the Eagleby, Queensland distillery, then in a tropical climate with an angel's share of >25%.

Bottled at 59°. A true Australian Spirit, today as in 1884.

We have already talked about this historic Australian distillery here with a detailed interview with former Production Manager Steve Magarry. 

Since August 2022 the new Distillery Manager is Chris Kim, originally from South Korea, who migrated to New Zealand in 1996 at the age of 15.

Chris studied Food Technology at Massey University, and after a brief experience in Marketing & Sales at a New Zealand brewery he decided to move to the technical and operational area, becoming a brewer at Asahi in 2011, then building up significant experience in a variety of operational roles from Yeast Propagator to Brewing Manager: “I wanted to explore an approach to small batch production as opposed to commercial scale production.”

The turning point in his life came with the outbreak of the pandemic and the resulting corporate downsizing, which left him unemployed. After a few difficult months, the opportunity to work at Beenleigh seemed to Chris almost like a sign of fate. He applied and successfully passed four interviews.

“I joined the Beenleigh Artisan Distillery as Distillery Manager in August 2022,” he says. “I find it inspiring to understand and combine technology from a century ago with the most recent, and to support distillers in their daily activities. The distillery, which has been included in the Queensland Government Heritage, is 139 years old and treasures its origins while at the same time working to meet emerging needs. This requires making many considerations from multiple points of view.”


Beenleigh has been on a path of continuous improvement for the last twenty years, making a name for itself on the market with its above-average quality. “Our commitment is to produce the best possible rum from molasses sourced from the regions around us,” says Chris.

As regards one of the main aspects that define the quality of their Australian rums, he explains

“At Beenleigh you could almost say that aging is subtropical as temperatures vary from a minimum of 5° C in winter to a maximum of about 36° C in summer. We have access to freshly emptied bourbon barrels from the United States which every other distillery in the world would love to get their hands on. Due to the combination of higher-loss ex-bourbon barrels and wet summers, our annual loss is 6% - which makes our rum even better.”

The story of Beenleigh, Australia's oldest registered distillery, begins in 1865, when Englishmen John Davy and Francis Gooding bought 300 acres of land near the Albert River in the Beenleigh area, intending to open a sugar mill. Around the same time, James Stewart - known as 'The Bosun' - was traveling along the Albert, Logan and Brisbane rivers aboard the steamboat S.S. Walrus, officially a floating sugar mill where excess molasses was secretly used to produce rum.

In 1884, the boat was found abandoned on the shore with no one aboard except The Bosun's copper pot still, which was then purchased by Davy. That's how Beenleigh Artisan Distillery was born. They would go on to win their first gold medal at the Greater Britain Exhibition in 1899.

In the early 1890s, local sugar farmers were beginning to rationalize their businesses, largely ceasing sugar production. The distillery, however, continued to require a constant supply of raw ingredients.