Robinvale distillery to modernise with equipment from Adelaide brewery

For the past 18 years Dawid Ostrowski has been making whisky and other spirits, but his business is about to take a giant leap after purchasing equipment from Lion's West End brewery in Adelaide which closed in June.

He said that the brewery would give Ostra Distillers the opportunity to produce a greater volume of spirits, of a higher quality and enable innovation with different brews, yeasts and flavour profiles.

“This brand spanking high-end brewhouse is going to give us the opportunity to really go to the next level and create some whopping fantastic whisky which we can now make in volume to sell to the world,” Mr Ostrowski said.

Equipment on the move

The first loads of equipment from Adelaide have started arriving in Robinvale.

The team that installed the brewery for Lion in Adelaide has been tasked with bringing it to its new home and rebuilding it.

Mr Ostrowski said it was a process that could take 18 months.

“It’s highly specialised equipment, especially with a lauter tun, which is the machine or the vessel that separates the grain from the wort, which is the sugary liquid after brewing and if that isn’t done 100 per cent correctly, then we’re just going to have 20 years’ worth of problems for every brew,” he said.

Equipment from the West End brewery has started arriving in Robinvale.(ABC Rural: Kellie Hollingworth)

Mr Ostrowski said the equipment is vastly different to what is currently being used.

“The brewhouse itself comes with 22 computers, our current brewhouse was built together by lassoing a few tanks and a bit of duct tape,” he said.

From humble beginnings

Ostra Distillers was established 18 years ago in the Melbourne suburb of Mount Waverley, where a keg still was used to create whisky and vodka.

Three years later Mr Ostrowski acquired the McWilliam’s Wines site in Robinvale which was used to make sherry. 

A special team that installed the brewhouse in Adelaide will repeat the job at the Robinvale distillery over 18 months.(Supplied: Ostra Distillers)

Once the new equipment is installed Mr Ostrowski estimated that he would need to employ an extra 40 people including brewers, distillers, lab technicians and managers.

“If this brewhouse gives us the capacity to do another 350 barrels of whisky per day, you can imagine 350 barrels; you’ve got to prepare that barrel, you got to roll that barrel into place, you got to fill that barrel, then you got to roll it into a warehouse,” he said.

Ostra Distiller’s expansion plans were also expected to provide another market for local grain and grapes, used in the spirits.

Mr Ostrowski said that when the facility was fully operational 50,000 to 100,000 tonnes of grain could be used.

“Distilleries belong in regional Australia, and the reason for that is because you want to add value to the grape and grain before you transport it,” he said.

Ostra Distillers currently produces sprits under contract for other beverage companies, but Mr Ostrowski was intending to launch his own brand and put Robinvale on the world map.

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Robinvale distillery to modernise with equipment from Adelaide brewery

Hero Image Credit: Dawid Ostrowski has big plans for his distillery in Robinvale.(ABC Rural: Kellie Hollingworth)

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Ostra Distillers Pty Ltd is committed to promoting and supporting the responsible service of alcohol. We firmly believe in fostering a culture of moderation, safety, and informed decision-making regarding alcohol consumption. By prioritising responsible practices, we aim to ensure the well-being and enjoyment of individuals who choose to consume our products.