About the Program

This 5-day intensive course is delivered through a combination of face to face theory and practical instruction by highly regarded experts from the University of Adelaide, guest presenters and industry professionals.

The theoretical elements of the course will be reinforced by the practical exercises to develop a working knowledge of distillation and spirit production.

You will have the opportunity to experience hands-on pot still distillation and sensory assessment of spirits. A full day industry visit to commercial boutique distilleries in Adelaide and the picturesque Adelaide Hills region is also included.

The course will be offered at the renowned Waite campus. As part of your participation you will receive:

  • course notes and distillation book chapter
  • spirit tastings
  • pot still distillation
  • a gin masterclass
  • a full day industry visit
  • light lunch on each day
  • networking drinks.

If you attend all sessions of the course you will receive a University of Adelaide, Certificate of Completion in Fundamentals of Spirit Production.

  • What does the course cover?

    The following topics will be covered:

    • fundamentals of distillation
    • assessment of raw materials for distillation
    • production of congeners during fermentation and their behaviour during distillation
    • sensory assessment of spirits
    • pot still distillation
    • production of gin
    • whisky production process
    • safety and regulations.

    On completing this course you will be able to:

    • understand the process of batch distillation in a pot still
    • show how to measure liquid volumes and alcohol strengths
    • explain how congeners are formed during fermentation
    • contrast how congeners distil in a pot still
    • discuss the role of blending and maturation for different spirits
    • use sensory assessment to evaluate spirit style and quality
    • understand the contributions of various botanicals in gin formulations
    • understand basic regulatory and safety aspects of small batch distillation.

    During the week you will be involved in a full day experiential training session at a local whisky and gin distillery, covering key aspects such as malting, mashing, yeast selection, distillation, cutting spirit, wood selection, maturation and a spirit assessment workshop.

  • Who should attend?

    This course will be of interest to those looking to gain a basic working knowledge of spirits production, particularly for gin and whisky.

    No previous experience of distillation is required, making the course suitable for those interested in entering the industry. However, the course is structured to provide in-depth insights for those already in the industry, as well as, providing information for those who wish to learn more about how production decisions are reflected in the sensory profiles of finished products.

  • Why the University of Adelaide?

    The University of Adelaide has a long history in high quality grape and wine education and research. Our Waite campus has a still house and copper pot still with brandy column, and we have run a highly regarded course involving distillation to degree students for decades.

    Australia’s boutique spirit industry is blossoming. Our spirits are gaining international recognition, with recent awards for whisky and gin. In August 2017 Adelaide hosted the Asia Pacific Whiskies and Spirits Conference.

    The University of Adelaide's involvement in spirit industry forums allows us to contribute to the development of the industry, and growing boutique spirit movement, in South Australia and beyond.

    As a leading education institution we are responsive to the strong interest in distillation from industry stakeholders and enthusiasts.

    Drawing on our strong connection with industry, this distillation course is a unique offering that connects theory with practical application, in a range of lively and enjoyable learning experiences.

    You will benefit from the depth of knowledge of leading academic experts, including Associate Professor, David Jeffery and Adjunct Associate Professor, Dr Graham Jones, a gin masterclass with Jon and Sarah Lark from KI Spirits and a full day visit incorporating Iniquity Distillery with Ian Schmidt, and 78 Degrees Distillery with Sacha La Forgia, as well as guest speakers: Graham Wright from The Odd Whisky Coy, Caraline Hill from the ATO, and Greg Jackson from Tarac Technologies.

  • What did past participants say about this course?

    "All areas [of the course] were applicable to me, it gave me a real sense of how much I don't know and what I need to do in order to achieve a dream. So each and every part covered useful"

    "Good mix of practical, sensory and technical."

    "They were all extremely knowledgeable and excellent presenters."

    "The information was ordered, clear, concise for my entry knowledge, inspired me to learn more. The presenters made it fun."

    "Presentations were well done and notes for course made sure no gaps were missed."

    "Everything was useful from the science through to the more practical elements."

    "Theory was well presented but not too technical. Visit to McLaren Vale Distillery was excellent and very instructive. Interaction with other participants was very valuable - can't wait for the 5 year reunion!"