Fourth generation Julien Delavoie lives & breathes distilling. His grandparents in Normandy made rum, calvados and cider watched on by a young Julien. After a career of graphic design then many years as a pâtissier & chef he has gone back to that first love of distilling and invention. During the first Covid lockdown in Dunedin, Julien & business partner Michael Wilson of Dog with Two Tails bar & café created No.8 Distillery to pivot around a closed bricks & mortar business. They started creating distillations from traditional recipes with a local twist, often using local produce from the Otago Farmers Market - Earnscleugh Orchard cherries, walnuts from NZ Nuts, peaches, apples, etc and any leftover fruit from the Market to create fruit liqueurs, rum, etc. Top sellers at the Market are the Horopito Gin, Limoncello, Absinthe, the gift packs of Gin & Ouzo. The Limoncello & the Elderflower Liqueur are the most sampled & loved at the Market. Some of the range has gone on to accumulate awards both here & internationally in a very short time – currently 19 awards, impressive for only two years in business! The No.8 Distillery range sits at around 25 varieties (& counting) so there are plenty of options if you aren’t a gin drinker. Julien is most proud of winning the world’s best gin this year for the Horopito Gin at the World 22 Gin Awards. He is also proud of being able to sell into a few duty-free stores where few New Zealand gins currently are sold. And this year No.8 are sponsoring a bartender category at the hospitality awards & have created the Otago Spirits Festival.
Botanicals are foraged from around Ōtepoti & Central Otago. The stall has been at the Otago Farmers Market since the early days of the business venture & Julien says it has been awesome and invaluable as a testing incubator to finesse the range. Introducing shoppers to more old-fashioned niche recipes like ouzo & absinthe (of which there are only 2x distilleries in the country producing these). The range continues to grow & expand while collecting more awards and selling nationwide into speciality stores & now exporting to the UK & beyond. The original old copper called Therese that had sat in the window of the Dog with Two Tails has now moved up the road to a larger cool, airy space on Hanover St together with a beautiful huge new copper as the distillery expands. There is now room to take tours and tastings which suits Julien’s personality & charm wonderfully. No.8 ambition, tradition, flair & hard work is seeing this local business flourish & grow - gaining fans both here & further afield. The Kiwi No.8 wire philosophy with French traditions continues to entertain our tastebuds at the Market each Saturday morning. Julien enjoys the interaction with his customers where they can try before they buy & new ideas are always forming from this direct link to his customer base.