While based in Australia, Four Pillars started as a germ of an idea when Stuart Gregor, Matt Jones, and Cameron MacKenzie started to do a deep dive into the distillery scene in the US. Starting from Seattle, the men drank (and took notes), making their way through Washington, Oregon before ending off at California. With an education, the trio bought a CARL copper and stainless still that's named after MacKenzie's late mother, Wilma. To this day, Wilma remains the fourth founder of Four Pillars.
But it's not the number of founders that contributed to the company's appellation; 'Four Pillars' refers to the brand's key tenets: calibre stills, quality botanicals, triple-filtered water from the Yarra Valley and love, sweet love. Love for gin, love for the work that they do, love for the stories that their gins will tell.
In Healesville in the Yarra Valley, juniper remains at the heart of their production but that's where the similarity with the traditional London style ends. Four Pillars's gin is distinctly Australian with local citrus that blooms on the nose and is rear-ended by the spicy pinch, thanks to the Tasmanian pepper berry leaf. A rather astonishing concoction, their first batch of Rare Dry Gins were completely sold through a crowdfunding campaign in 2013. Four months later, the Rare Rye Gin garnered double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2014 and 2016. Accolades follow, word spread, Four Pillars grew in reputation.
Other than its partnership for this year's Asia's 50 Best Bars, the label will organise several activities like the Grand Finals of Four Pillars' Australian [Gin] Open (AGO). Taking place at Jigger & Pony, this annual competition is the first that is held in Asia.
Six up-and-coming bartenders from Singapore; Tokyo; Ho Chi Minh City; Bangkok; Shanghai and Hong Kong will compete with their own Four Pillars gin-based cocktails. Two winners will be crowned and they will showcase their winning creations at the Singapore Cocktail Festival (SGCF) on Friday, 10 May. For more details on checking out the event, click here. Spaces are limited.
The Australian [Gin] Open, Grand Finals will take place at the mezzanine at Jigger & Pony, 165 Tanjong Pagar Road, Amara Hotel on on Wednesday, 8 May, from 3pm to 6pm.
There is also the Asia's 50 Best Bars x Four Pillars Gin Tour on 18 May, during the week of SGCF. Partake and drink on this magical mystery tour at ATLAS, Employees Only Singapore, Jigger & Pony and The Other Room. Sam Ng, Four Pillars Gin Ambassador, will lead the charge as he regales you with the brand's history and the process of gin-making.
The Asia's 50 Best Bars x Four Pillars Gin Tour starts at ATLAS, Parkview Singapore, 600 North Bridge Road, on Saturday, 18 May and will run from 5pm to 8pm. Ticket entry is SGD102 per person and can be purchased here.
Of course, Four Pillars will be at SGCF's Festival Village from 10 May to 12 May. Visitors can head to their booth to try their luck with their games to win exclusive prizes like branded copper bar blades. Or try Four Pillars' four signature cocktails. Or do both, whatever. It's your life.
SGCF Festival Village will take place at the Empress Lawn, 10 Empress Place and will run from 10 May to 12 May, from 4pm to 11pm. For ticketing and more details on the Singapore Cocktail Festival, click here.