Big plans are afoot for the opening of a craft gin distillery in the heart of Hastings CBD - thought to be the first of its kind in the region.

By spring wine industry veterans Kate Galloway and David Ramonteu hope to open Hastings Distillers on a corner site in the city's growing hub of artisanal establishments.

"We're champing at the bit," Ms Galloway said. "We're used to working together, we like creating things. We thought it would be nice to do something local again."

Neither have been involved with distilling in this way before, however it is not completely new to the couple who each have decades of experience in the wine industry.


At this stage their vision was for the distillery to be "akin to a winery cellar door", rather than a cocktail bar. It would offer tastings of its products - beginning with gin, and seasonal releases of organic eau de vie (fruit brandy).

"It will start small and we'll expand as we see that there's a market," Ms Galloway said.

The couple also had plenty of ideas for what the venue on the corner of Warren St, and Heretaunga St East could host - from education events showing the distilling process and how their products were made, to F.A.W.C! Functions, or even a pre-show cocktail hour ahead of Opera House events.

Ms Galloway said they had come up with the simple name for the business as a way to "champion the fact that Hastings has got a lot to offer and is growing".

Indeed when the distillery opens it will be the newest addition to a growing hub of artisanal stores, eateries, and watering holes along a block of Heretaunga St East.

As well as a long-held love for this area, this new vibrancy was what had attracted the couple to lease the building, as it offered the vision of a hub "where people can go and see artisan producers, and taste the product, and actually see it made on site".

Currently the leased building stands with whitewashed windows and exterior remnants of its former business, Denton Wyatt Books, Gifts & Lotto, which occupied the site for 34 years but ceased operation in December.

"We will be reinstating the entire front. It will be radically transformed by the time it opens but it will take some time," Ms Galloway said. Currently they were torn between restoring the original 1930s storefront facade, or going for a more contemporary look.

"It's not something we can transform overnight. But we're confident that it's got good bones and that we can do something cool there."

Although distilling was a "big thing" internationally, interest in craft distilling is only just beginning to increase in New Zealand, with Hastings Distillers potentially the first such business in Hawke's Bay.

The couple currently operate Mobius Wines and Consulting, and have worked to produce wine under their labels, DaDa, and the recently sold Alluviale.

Ms Galloway was chief winemaker for Alpha Domus winery, while Mr Ramonteu grew up in the French Pyrenean farming and wine growing region, where his family's estate Domaine Cauhape is.