LUKE JACQUES - ANIMUS DISTILLERY / THE LUKE WARM COCKTAIL LOUNGE on MAIN FM
I grew up in Hobart, Tasmania. The eastern shore which means the bogan side of Hobart; nothing but suburbs as far as the eye can see. It is now a very different place; so much happening, it’s wonderful. But when I was growing up Tasmania felt a good twenty years behind the rest of Australia. And that includes Queensland, which really saying something.
After high school, I got the hell out of Tasmania. I moved to Melbourne like everyone with a bit of get up and go. Shortly after that I moved to Bangkok for two years to teach English. Then I went to uni in Perth before coming back to Victoria. I have a degree in Humanities and Arts, so while I am an incredible critical thinker, I cannot use a spanner.
There are four of us involved in Animus Distillery - two gay couples and we’ve been friends for ten years. It was established after the other couple went on a drunken, inspirational whisky tour of Tasmania, where Australia’s spirits renaissance began. When they got back they decided they could make whisky and asked us to join them. That triggered the move to Kilmore. Kilmore was... a necessary evil. A means to an end. We bought a farm (not THE farm) so we could ramp up our whisky and gin production and it was also a great tree change. We could adopt rescue farm animals from Edgar’s Mission, give them a great life and they ate our waste grain from whisky and botanicals from gin. We used 100% rain water and solar power. We learnt a lot about sustainability which still informs the way we make gin today. From there we launched in Victoria, got a national distributor and moved to Kyneton after we secured a fantastic bar and production space on Piper Street. We are really involved in the community and the great thing about Kyneton is everyone supports one another. We have been amazed at how local businesses have helped us.
Our customers are people who love great gin or anyone who likes a fantastic drink in an amazing atmosphere. We work hard to make sure you’re relaxed. We have a full bar and cocktail menu. We have just launched a new range of sour cocktails. They’re amazing! My favourite gin-based drink is most definitely a gimlet; 60 mls Animus Arboretum gin, 30 mls freshly squeezed lime juice, 15 mls sugar syrup. And that’s it. Citrus gold!
Future plans for the business: Nothing short of world domination.
I think I’ve always been into lounge music. I have always been a music buff, especially electronic and jazz. And as I’ve grown older I’ve become fascinated with how all of these different genres are interlinked, how one informs the other. For instance, just how intrinsically linked jazz and lounge are and how that inspired a lot of the electronic music I love. Plus I’ve always been a sucker for a torch song performed by an amazing singer like Julie London or Peggy Lee.
I once had four shows a week on Radio Fremantle in WA. Although you wouldn’t know it by my current show. I’m still pretty rusty in the mic usage department but I’m getting better. However I absolutely LOVE putting my playlists together and I get lots of great feedback about how happy they make people.
Favourite things to do in Kyneton: I'm always so damn busy but I gotta say there is an amazing record store in Kyneton that I love to spend lots of time and money in.
Tips for people thinking of moving out here: Make it your own. Talk to people. Get involved with what’s happening. Love it for what it is -great people, amazing landscapes and most importantly amazing wine country. Stop complaining about the commute.