Most of us have a favourite tipple, but our newest Official Partner Wayne Chowles (and partner Kathy) has just won an Award for his Gold Gin. The Waikino Hotel publican is a gold-medal winner for Eliza’s Claim Gold Gin at this year’s New Zealand Spirits Awards.
Wayne told us he perfected the art of making fine Gin as a home-brew hobbyist, but is now distilling on a commercial level in the four-inch flute still based at the hotel. Lucky pub visitors have been the first to experience the earthy, spicy Gin with rosemary and honey, and by all accounts it’s a hit.
With a true nod to the area’s historic past, the Gin’s namesake was the partner of a prominent mining figure and had a mine named after her. The bottle label also has a surveyor’s map of the local mining claims. Would you believe Wayne even puts a dusting of edible gold in his Gin.
We caught up with Wayne to hear more about his new venture, what he believes makes the Hauraki Rail Trail so unique, and of course what’s next…
Wayne Chowles, I have a background in engineering and project management, but my passions are people, craft beer and spirits. Being involved at the Waikino gives me ample opportunity to indulge those passions.
I believe that there is strength in numbers. The Trail gives participating businesses the opportunity to “share the love”, support each other and grow the whole area. The Rail Trail is very popular and brings a lot of potential customers from diverse backgrounds past our door.
Friendly service from committed staff, a selection of great craft beers and spirits, and really good quality pub grub at a great price.
Kaimai Brewing and Distilling have established their distillery at the Waikino. The Eliza’s Claim Gin range is a small batch Gin range, manufactured on the premises.
Eliza’s Claim Gold Gin was awarded a gold medal in the 2021 NZ Spirits Awards.
I have only ridden the stretch between Waihi and Paeroa. The part that passes through the Gorge is by far my favourite. Riding through the 1100m long tunnel and stopping in for a well-earned pint at the Kino on my way back!
Photo: Karangahake Gorge Tunnel - @x.escape.reality.x on Instagram
The natural beauty of the area, and the number of hospitality options available to riders to break up the journey.
We’ve just introduced Eliza’s Claim Ruby Gin to the range, and it's exciting to see this new addition come to fruition. It's a contemporary style Gin that draws on the beautiful flavours and aromas of the Hybiscus flower, to supplement the traditional Gin botanicals, and create a floral, slightly sweet Gin. We are also developing our own Rum.
Wayne’s Gin is made from scratch, including the base wine. He uses fourteen different botanicals and each batch takes months to create and age. Next time you’re passing through Waikino, stop off at the Hotel and enjoy a glass for yourself!
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