For the first time gin and whiskey will be made in the Shoalhaven as Alarna Doherty and Ben Stephenson open up Tara Distillery in Nowra Hill.
The duo plan to produce a number of spirits, combining their Australian and Irish roots and celebrating the Shoalhaven.
"Sense of place is hugely important for us and as much as we've taken our cues from a lot the Irish techniques we want to be known as the Shoalhaven distillery," Tara Distillery co-founder Ben said.
"If someone wants to send a bottle of gin or vodka that represents their local area we want to be the place they think of and we want to make people proud of the spirits that are coming out of this area."
Over four years the couple have been slowly putting together their distillery, investing in equipment which included sourcing two large stills.
"After visiting friends and sharing a bottle of Overeem Tasmanian whisky - I was traveling home with Ben in the car and was like ghee I'd love to make spirits I wonder if I could have my own distillery," Alarna Doherty said.
"That was probably four years ago and we've just been slowly working away and finding a still maker and we moved down from Sydney.
"We spent a year doing different gin recipes, testing different botanicals - you can smell and taste them but once you distill them they might have a different flavour."
Ben and Alarna's connection to the Australian Irish community is strong and has influenced their spirits.
"Me and Alarna met while I was living over in Ireland, we've always had a really strong connection back there," Ben said.
"The spirits that really inspire us is the Irish style. It's a really exciting time for us - we feel like we're taking the best of both and adding our own."
"I grew up with Irish music in the house and Irish dancing from the age of three so it seems quite natural to look to both our cultures - the Aussie and the Irish and take the best," Alarna said.
The name Tara Distillery is as simple as being Alarna's middle name, but choosing it wasn't easy.
"We must have had a whole A4 page just of names," she said.
"I think we just wanted something memorable but hinted towards out Irish culture without being shamrocks and leprechauns and Tara is actually my middle name.
"It was just short and sweet, memorable."
Their first spirit, gin was just launched in Friday, October 30 and the Shoalhaven company has already been overwhelmed with support.
"It's been pretty full on - we've been blown away by the response," Ben said.
"We didn't anticipate the kind of demand we would see for online sales.
"Just the response we've had has been amazing - people kinda of get what we are trying to do which is trying to get something that's bold but very smooth and with a lot of complexity."
Tara Distillery plans to expand its line of spirits over the coming months, get its products into more bars and refine the product.
"We want to get our gin out locally to really be the Shoalhaven and South Coast's gin and really get to know bars and restaurants in the area," Alarna said.
"I think our vodka and our Poitin will be released in the next month or too as well. Really getting our brand out there and making sure we have the best quality product."
A unique spirit they plan to produce is Poitin (pronounced "pot-cheen"), an Irish drink similar to moonshine.
"It's a real passion project for us," Ben said.
"We are stoked to be able to bring that style of spirit to Australia."
Keeping the Shoalhaven and regional connection has been important for the duo.
"We have already made a small batch of limoncello using local 100-year-old heritage lemons from a tree in Sussex Inlet," Ben said.
"As part of our gin recipes we use sea lettuce which is a type of seaweed that we go and forage ourselves at the local beaches, a big part of our mid-flavour profiles is a mountain pepper berry leaf which we get up at a farm in Braidwood.
"Every bit of gear in here is made in NSW except for our boiler which was from Queensland - we're really trying to support the local industry in that way as well."
If you want to support the local distillery you can find out more at www.taradistillery.com. Soon the couple hope to have their gin in most local bottle shops.