As a professional skier for 26 years, Bradley Spalding couldn’t imagine living life anywhere but the Snowy Mountains. After realising the potential for locally produced schnapps, he began building his own distillery in Crackenback near Jindabyne.
A chance encounter with two wild brumbies led to the business name, and shortly before the ski season of 2005, Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery opened to the public. At the time, the business was one of only a few boutique distilleries in Australia.
Since then, Bradley and his team of 14 full time staff and seasonal contractors have carefully distilled a range of award-winning schnapps products, tended to onsite fruit patches, maintained a sculpture garden, and run a busy café 7 days a week. The distillery now also produces gin and vodka, supplying direct to the consumer from the distillery and via the Wildbrumby’s website.
Bradley says that being in the mountains is ideal, as schnapps in synonymous with snow, skiing and snowboarding. He also enjoys a lot of patronage from people in the Canberra region, who take a day trip to the distillery for a free tasting, lunch and stroll around the sculpture garden.
“Jindabyne used to be a winter wonderland, but now it’s a year round wonderland,” says Bradley. “Mountain biking, walking, swimming, and Lake Jindabyne have changed the summer business for Thredbo.” He says that an influx of people wanting to live in the area has also led to a mini boom, and predicts that planned upgrades to the local ski areas will attract even more.
For more information, visit Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery. You can learn more about living and working in the Snowy Mountains at www.snowymonaro.nsw.gov.au and visiting the region at www.visitsnowymountains.com.au.