It was probably inevitable that someone who’s dabbled, mostly with considerable success, in craft brewing, boutique winemaking, eateries, a soon-to-be-opened hotel and advertising, should try his hand at the latest in-thing in Perth.

In this case, Howard Cearns has taken craft distilling down a new path, with the launch of Hippocampus Vodka from a small warehouse in West Perth.

“There are plenty of commercial-grade vodkas around but few are doing craft vodkas, ” he said. “And the small bar environment in Perth is perfect for it.”

Mr Cearns and his distiller Alex Poulsen started from scratch with little knowledge of distilling. They had a little help from London’s boutique distillers Sipsmith, and a man simply known as Klaus from Germany.

“It has been a learning process but we are very pleased with the results, ” he said.

In keeping with tradition, their German-made Carl still has been given a girl’s name — in this case, Kylie.

Although vodka can be distilled from just about any grain or potatoes, Mr Cearns and Mr Poulsen have chosen biodynamically grown wheat from Dumbleyung. “The soft organic wheat seemed ideal for the soft and clean local style we were seeking, ” Mr Cearns said.

Hippocampus Vodka has only been on the market for a short time but the small production spirit is already starting to find a market in Perth’s small bars.


© The West Australian