Brookie’s x Feels Collaboration: The Art of Blending Spirits, Brands and Ideas
2021 is only just getting started for Feels. Since launching at the end of February, we’ve been lucky enough to work with a cohort of independent bottle shops, spirit brands and creatives from all over Australia—and the world. While partnering with these experts from all walks of life, who are all so passionate about what they do, we’ve found ourselves asking: what does it take to make a good creative partnership work?
With this question in mind, Blake headed over to Cape Byron Distillery recently to catch up with co-founder Eddie Brook and Head of Sales & Marketing Matteo Barnett to try our latest bespoke Feels x Brookie cocktails and chew the fat. A few topics were crossed, most of all the synergy between our brands and how a ‘working together’ mindset (over head-to-head competition) often produces the most inspired results.
Hey, meet Brookie’s from Cape Byron Distillery
But let’s rewind for a moment. If you haven’t yet come across these guys (or enjoyed a glass of their Shirl the Pearl and tonic) let us introduce you. Brookie’s Gin is a family-run spirit brand based in the lush Byron Hinterlands. Eddie and his team produce everything out of Cape Byron Distillery, set on the Brook family’s macadamia farm, a thriving plot of land flanked by cool, subtropical rainforest. The family have always been deeply passionate about sustainable and regenerative agriculture, and as Eddie tells us, over the 30 years since his parents Pam and Martin bought the land, they’ve worked hard to transform it from a run-down dairy farm with degraded soil to the thriving plot it is today, abundant with native fruits and wildlife.
So, how’d they actually get into the business of making spirits?
“In 2014, I had the privilege of orchestrating a three-week sell out Australian Whisky tour with the legendary Master Distiller Jim McEwan aka (‘The Cask Whisperer’),” Eddie recalls. “One night, I told Jim the story of our family farm and the passion my parents had for rainforest regeneration. Jim was captivated. It became clear we shared the same values and beliefs. A seed was planted and from there the idea for Cape Byron Distillery and Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin was born.”
What it takes to make a good brand partnership flourish
Similar values and beliefs. Sustainability and community. You could say, these are the essential ingredients underpinning our partnership with Brookie’s Gin. For Blake, friendships forged through work have historically produced the most genuine, spirited results. It is, after all, how he met Steve, the other half of Feels Botanical. And it’s also how he met Eddie, during his days working for global spirit brands all over Australia.
Blake has executed a few brand partnerships in his time and for him it all comes down to bringing together two or more products, people, perspectives and flavours together to create something altogether extraordinary.
“It’s what our individually blended philosophy is all about,” says Blake, “that celebration of individual expression and community to create something bigger than the sum of its parts. From a brand partnership perspective, you need to have an understanding and appreciation of the other brand, as well as a relationship built on trust and collaboration.”
For Eddie, it was precisely our long-living relationship, our shared values, and his desire to support a newborn company in its early stages that first drew him in. “We also thought the results tasted great!”
Which brings us to just that: taste.
Four cocktail creations: an ode to Australia’s natural bounty and innovative spirits industry
When it comes to the Australian spirits industry, we’re lucky to be part of a wave of distillers pushing the boundaries on innovation, quality and tradition.
“For me, it’s about challenging the norm,” Blake says. “Take Brookie’s Slow Gin, for example, Archie Rose’s cold distillation technology, Regal Rogue’s organic Australian vermouth, Vodka & New’s aluminum bottles with that wide mouth, Never Never’s ginache, Applewood leading the way as the only B Corp Certified distillery to date, and our own eau de vie using local grapes and botanicals. There are so many more brands and businesses out there doing innovative things. It’s a really exciting time to be a spirit brand in Australia, that’s for sure!”
With spirits that celebrate the natural bounty of Australia’s grapes, grain and native botanicals, our first project with Brookie’s focused on blending our two products (and mindsets) to create four uniquely local cocktails: New Revelations, La Vie En Rouse, Electric Feel and Basking Glory.
Giving full freedom to their cellar door mixologists, the only brief was this: make it delicious and make it easy to whip up for all those playing at home. And so, to cap this story off, we bring you each of these recipes to enjoy during a late night conversation with a new friend, on a winter holiday in the wilderness, or maybe just as the sun sets on any old Wednesday night.
La Vie en Rouse
Garnish: Rose petals
Method: Build in glass over ice
15ml Brookie’s Slow Gin
15ml Brookie’s Dry Gin
15ml Feels Rouse
15ml Fresh Lemon Juice
15ml Jasmine Tea Syrup
Garnish: Toasted Coconut Flakes and salt rim
Method: Shake w/ ice & double strain into chilled glass
45ml Brookie’s Shirl The Pearl Cumquat Gin
15ml Feels Vivify
30ml Fresh Lemon Juice
15ml Toasted Coconut & Mango Syrup
Method: Shaken w/ ice and double strained into chilled glass
20ml Brookie’s Slow Gin
20ml Feels Bask
20ml Plum & Honey Syrup
30ml Fresh Lime Juice
Garnish: Orange twist
Method: Stir down over ice and strain onto one large ice cube
30ml Brookie’s Dry Gin
20ml Feels Revel
20ml Mac. Liqueur by Brookie’s
2 dashes Aztec Chocolate Bitters