APRIL FOOLS: SA’s Never Never secures grant for first-ever space gin distillation

Never Never, a South Australian gin distillery, has been awarded an innovation grant to become the first gin distilled in space as part of an exercise conducted by the Australian Space Discovery Centre in South Australia.

Never Never, an Australian gin distillery, has secured an innovation grant to pioneer the first-ever gin distillation in space.

This groundbreaking initiative, orchestrated by the Australian Space Discovery Centre in South Australia, marks a significant leap for the South Australian Space Industry. The primary objective of this endeavour is to delve into the realm of zero gravity’s impact on flavour, particularly concerning the distillation process of spirits.

The experiments will commence with zero gravity distillation utilising vacuum distillation technology. This specialised apparatus leverages the extreme vacuum conditions of space to extract flavours from botanicals sans combustion. Originally designed for purifying astronaut urine through micro-distillation, this technology’s efficacy has spurred broader applications, including onboard the recently refurbished International Space Station.

Sean Baxter, Co-Founder and Brand Director of Never Never, expressed his anticipation regarding the revelations this venture might unveil in the realm of crafting spirits beyond Earth’s confines.

“This is just the first stage of an approximately 6-year plan to continue to learn more about the impact of space on flavour,” Baxter said. The subsequent stages will extend into deep space distillation during space travel, culminating in distillation on the Martian surface itself.

These experiments hold promise for generating neutral alcohol on a prospective Martian colony. Such alcohol could serve pivotal roles in medicine, sanitation, and fuel resources.

With recent discoveries of ancient water reservoirs on Mars, the aspiration is to utilise this water for distillation, yielding a locally crafted “Mars Vodka” derived from potatoes cultivated in the planet’s distinctive red soil, complemented by wild yeasts cultivated within biodomes.

For Never Never, supporting such research endeavours is not merely an academic pursuit but a strategic move to potentially relocate production off-planet, offering a solution to the exorbitant taxation prevalent within the Australian spirits sector.

“Mars offers both a cost-effective and unique solution to the problems presented within the Australian market,” Baxter says.

“By aiming to produce on another planet, we are able to side-step Australia’s spirit excise which has climbed to $101.85,” says Baxter. “By the time we are fully operational once the Mars colony has been established, we believe that it will provide the most realistic opportunity for small business to continue to thrive, albeit in a completely different atmosphere.” 

“It was never our ambition to take production off planet in order to create a fairer way of producing spirit, however we’re excited by the savings such a plan is going to generate.

“Just like when we began producing in 16sqm in the back of a shed in West Adelaide, we’re accustomed to working efficiently in tight spaces,” says Baxter, “a biodome shouldn’t present a significant problem for our team.” 

Co-Founder and Head Distiller Tim Boast is excited by the idea of taking his production program into orbit and can’t wait to see what the initial 

experimentations will uncover when it comes to groundbreaking advances in flavour. 

“I’ve been lucky enough to notch up a few notable achievements on this planet,” says Tim, referencing his back to back World’s Best Distiller awards in 2019, “it will be fun to see what the universe has in store,” he laughs. 

For more information on Never Never Distilling Co, head here.

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