Short Story

We are a group of friends who met working in the brewing industry and shared a vision to build upon our brewing experience and make distinctive small batch spirits here in Australia. With a collective enthusiasm for handcrafted, artisan and quality products, inspiration from our friends in the UK – independent distillery Sipsmith – and an ambition to craft superb Australian small batch spirits using local ingredients, the Hippocampus Metropolitan Distillery was conceived.

Alex is a craft brewer by trade, and gained distilling experience in Norway in addition to some personal experimentation particularly with botanical infusions. Jason has worked in the local beer and wine industry at the pioneering end for more than a decade, bringing an array of skills and a deep understanding of what it takes to build an authentic brand.

The “hippocampus” is a part of the brain that we hold dear to our hearts as it is particularly important in forming new memories and connecting emotions and senses, such as smell and taste, to memories. We hope that by creating quality spirits that can form wonderful drinks we are contributing in a small way to that treasure chest of memorable moments.

And how did the eccentrically dressed seahorse get on the label? Well, the hippocampus was so named for its resemblance to the shape of a seahorse – hippos being greek for horse and kampus meaning sea monster. And if you did bump into a seahorse dressed in fine tailored clothes sipping a cocktail you wouldn’t forget it.

From the ground up

Our passion is to make small batch and handcrafted spirits using terrific ingredients that are Australian sourced; the more local the better. In particular, with barley and wheat based products, we know that Western Australian farmers have some of the best grain on the planet. The state is right up there for blue skies, clean air, good soils and a sustainable approach.

We want to make our products “from the ground up”… start with the grain and ensure our base wash is spot on before handcrafting the spirits themselves to our own recipes.

We believe that the better the input the better the output, so we have sourced the best local soft wheat we can get our hands on to be the base ingredient for our vodka. Biodynamic wheat farmers from Dumbleyung supply our soft wheat, which is as good a starting point for a clean and great tasting vodka as you can get. Our suppliers have been farming in WA’s Southern Wheatbelt for a couple of generations and take pride in the sustainability of their farming system, where no artificial chemicals are used on their soil or plants, and the quality of their produce. Wheat is a wonderful and very traditional base for making excellent vodka due to the soft texture and richness it brings to the finished product.

A Copper still called Kylie

The German family owned company “Carl” has been custom fabricating artisan distilleries for 140 years, working mainly in copper. They are very specialised and make only a small number of highly individual stills each year. Our brief was for a small traditional copper pot still with enough distillation capability to allow us to experiment with different ingredients and ultimately a number of spirit styles. Being able to change our minds if it makes a difference has always been important to our philosophy. An important feature of our still is our two ten plate distillation columns that can be reconfigured at will to give us maximum flexibility.


Copper is preferred by small batch distillers because of its ability to remove impurities from the spirit while producing a spirit that is super smooth and retains character and flavour. Our 450 litre pot still is steam driven, to provide gentle and uniform heating that gives us maximum control over the distilling process and allows us to preserve the essence of the grain.

It is customary to give your still a girl’s name, so we called her Kylie.

Small Batch Products


Making vodka is a bit like crafting a pilsner in the world of beer… it’s about being very disciplined, technical and finessing a delicate taste. Ours starts with 100% biodynamic soft wheat from WA’s Southern Wheatbelt. The wheat is fermented in small batches with filtered water to create a “wash” that is as pure and flavourful as we can make it. The wash is then introduced to Kylie, and distilled through our two 10 plate copper columns, which allows for lots of interaction with the copper (to remove impurities) while producing a spirit that is super smooth and retains the flavour and character that we are looking for. We keep only the best of the “heart” of the spirit and discard the rest, along with the heads and tails.

Because we keep only the best of the heart, we don’t need to filter our spirit and this ensures that we retain the maximum character and flavour in our finished product. Finally, the spirit is blended with purified water, bottled by hand and rested for a bit before release. It is a labour intensive process, but one that we believe sets our product apart by allowing us maximum control over every aspect of the process, from the ground up.

The result is a local style of vodka that is incredibly soft, rich and smooth. The nose has a beautiful aroma from the wheat, and the palate is smooth, clean and rich with no harsh flavours. The finish is long and will add to that treasure chest of memories.

Available in 700mL bottles.


We are exceptionally excited to have recently released our first batch of Hippocampus Gin. Created using the one-shot method and hand-bottled in small batches at our West Perth distillery, it is a traditional style gin with superb juniper character and subtle flavours from botanicals including orange and lemon peel, coriander and cubeb pepper. The botanicals are macerated overnight to ensure there’s plenty of flavour and then gently distilled in our custom-made steam driven copper still. Never filtered, only the best of the ‘heart’ spirit is kept to ensure the end result is a well-balanced gin with a smooth mouthfeel and a lasting finish.


BREAKING NEWS: Hippocampus gin recently received a gold medal at the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and to say we are chuffed is an understatement.

Distillery & Cellar Door

Hippocampus Metropolitan Distillery and cellar door is now open! Pop in to learn about our hand-crafted vodka and gin and enjoy a classic cocktail.

SOAK-UP the atmosphere in our beautiful distillery and learn how we create our spirits from the ground up. Ask a question or have a tour.

SAMPLE our craft-distilled vodka and gin whilst overlooking Kylie, our custom-made copper pot still.

SIP on classic cocktails, craft beers or local wine and enjoy a selection of antipasto.

OPENING HOURS: Tuesday – Saturday from 1pm. Tours and corporate events can also be arranged by appointment.

19 Gordon Street, West Perth (across from Gordon Street Garage) Phone: 9212 6209

Tours and Functions

Whenever our cellar door is open you are free to pop in to observe the distillery in action and enjoy a gin or vodka tasting and a cocktail.

If you would like a more detailed understanding of our distillation process we offer ‘Spirit School’ each fortnight on a Wednesday evening. The evening includes a guided spirit tasting, a brief history of distilling, a run-down on the Hippocampus distillation process and Q&A time. A Hippocampus gin & tonic or vodka & mixer is also included so you can relax and enjoy our unique space. Spirit School is $35p/p and runs from 6.30pm until 8pm.

Hippocampus Metropolitan Distillery is also available for corporate functions and private events by appointment. We have a number pre-determined options available or bespoke packages including tastings, drinks per head and antipasto platters can be curated to suit your needs. Please contact for more information or call Gemma on (08) 9212 6209



Western Australia stockists:

Aubin Grove Liquor

Cellarbrations Applecross

Cellarbrations Bicton

Cellarbrations Carlisle

Cellarbrations Como

Cellarbrations Cottesloe

Cellarbrations East Fremantle

Cellarbrations Hamilton Hill

Cellarbrations Victoria Park

Como Liquor Store, Como

Con’s Mannings Fine Wine, Manning

Cons City Beach Fine Wines, City Beach

Copper and Oak Liquor, Tuart Hill

De Vine Cellars, Inglewood

Gangemi’s Fine Wines & Food, West Perth

Gooseberry Hill Cellars, Gooseberry Hill

Inglewood Hotel, Inglewood

La Vigna, Menora

Lamonts Cottesloe

Lamonts Smith Beach, Yallingup

Leederville Liquor Merchants, Leederville

Liquor Barons Applecross, Canning Bridge

Liquor Barons Brentwood

Liquor Barons Claremont

Liquor Barons Cowaramup

Liquor Barons Como

Liquor Barons Dalkeith

Liquor Barons Jolimont

Liquor Barons Melville

Liquor Barons Nedlands

Liquor Barons on Angelo, South Perth

Liquor Barons, South Perth

Luckies Liquor, East Victoria Park

Mane Liquor, Belmont

Old Bridge Cellars, North Fremantle

Paddington Ale House, Mt Hawthorn

Rosemount Hotel, North Perth

Scarborough Cellars

Settlers Tavern, Margaret River

Swanbourne Cellars, Swanbourne

The Freo Doctor, Fremantle

The International Beer Shop, Leederville

The Re Store, Leederville

The Wine Box, Nedlands

The Wine Thief, West Leederville

Whistling Kite, Secret Harbour

Victoria stockists:

Barrique Wine Store, Healesville

Black Hearts and Sparrows, Brunswick East

Black Hearts and Sparrows, Fitzroy

Black Hearts and Sparrows, Fitzroy North

Black Hearts and Sparrows, Kensington

Black Hearts and Sparrows, Richmond

Black Hearts and Sparrows, Windsor

Casa De Vinos, Port Melbourne

Caulfield Cellars, Caulfield

Elsternwick Cellarbrations – Elsternwick

Mc Coppins – Fitzroy & Abbotsford

Nicks Wine Merchants, Doncaster East

Prince Wine Store, South Melbourne

Rathdowne Cellars, Carlton

Sturt Street IGA, Southbank

The Bottle House – South Yarra

Wine Republic, Fitzroy


Cru Bar, Fortitude Valley


SA Distributor – Hills Cider Co, North Adelaide
East End Cellars, Adelaide


Goulburn Cellars, Darlinghurst

The Oak Barrel, Darlinghurst

Porters Liquor, Lansvale

Prince Wine Store Sydney, Zetland



To enjoy a Hippocampus tipple at your local bar or restaurant get in touch with us and we will direct you to where our vodka and gin is being enjoyed near you.

Employment and Enquiries

0421 056 039



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