Four Pillars' ambitious update to its Healesville gin distillery is edging closer to welcoming visitors.
The $6 million renovation, by architects Breathe, adds an extra 1100 square metres to the award-winning distillery, including an expanded gin bar, new snack menu from chef Matt Wilkinson and a garden of gin botanicals.
A larger bottling facility is part of the project, to be unveiled in early April, but much of the expansion is devoted to casual eatery Beth's Bar, seating 128 guests and featuring terracotta tones, concrete walls and a 12-metre curved copper bar, a reference to the copper stills used in the distillery.
Wilkinson and fellow chef Caroline Gray will serve a raft of new snacks using gin and distilling byproducts, including gin-cured salmon bagels, a drunken chicken terrine and zucchini croquettes with gin aioli.
The bar is adjoined by a gift shop on one side and a covered gin garden on the other, surrounded by trees and planted with the botanicals used to make Four Pillars gin. A tuckshop will open in this space later in the year for use at weekends and public holidays, as well as occasional guest chef appearances.
Breathe's focus on sustainability is reflected in a copper veil over the old and new buildings, which will recycle waste water created by distillation, saving several hundred thousand litres of water a week. The new building relies entirely on renewable energy while banquettes in Beth's Bar are made from recycled pineapple husks instead of leather.
Four Pillars was founded in 2013 and opened its cellar door in October 2015. Pre-pandemic, it welcomed close to 100,000 visitors a year. The company hopes to double this with the redevelopment.
The distillery continues to operate as usual, with the addition of a fifth still later in the year.
2a Lilydale Road, Healesville, fourpillarsgin.com