Belgrave will soon be on the map as the second place in Victoria with a rum distillery, with new distillery GinFinity expected to open its doors next month.
General Manager of GinFinity, Kayla Laird told the Star Mail that GinFinity was owned by lifelong Kallista locals who “want to bring something exciting to the Hills”.
The new venue expects to begin operating in Belgrave from 6 March.
The distillery forms part of an umbrella company, known as Little Brew, which has operated as a brewery in Ferntree Gully since mid 2016.
“GinFinity started as a part of LittleBrew and then the owners decided to separate it out and open it up as its own entity,” Ms Laird said.
Ms Laird said the venue was supposed to open last year, “but Covid-19 halted that”.
The new venue will offer gin and rum tastings and cocktails.
Ms Laird said the team behind GinFinity hoped the initiative would grow the rum market within Victoria.
The owners, who own LittleBrew, also own Killik Handcrafted Rum, which will operate in a separate but connected building as a café, restaurant and bar at the Belgrave location.
Ms Laird said Belgrave was chosen because the owners are a local family “who were born in the Hills and have lived in the Hills since after world war two” and “wanted to bring something that locals can come and enjoy”.
She said staff interviews were currently taking place and “everyone who has applied lives locally”.
“We are hoping once everything is back to normal it will boost tourism back to the area. Locals should be excited about having the second rum distillery in Victoria,” she said.
But not everyone is excited, with the talk of a new alcohol venue in the Hills creating some tension on Facebook.
Belgrave resident Leon Oldgolf said he was “astounded by the hypocricy in the Hills“.
“People thought the sky was going to fall when Maccas came to Tecoma, why isn’t the community in uproar about more alcohol?“ he said, when contacted by the Mail.
“The issue I have is that the Dandenongs is such a unique place, making it a replica of inner city means more people come here, house prices go up, developers come in.”
Ms Laird said “we can see both sides to the argument, especially with people not wanting change, but then again, we are locals”.
“You have to accept that there are people on both sides of the argument and wanting to bring something exciting to the hills. Our neighbours around the new venue are so excited and everyone I’ve spoken to is so excited to see something new coming. We are a family owned business, not a big international overseas company coming in,” Ms Laird said.
“You’re going to get people disagreeing with it on both sides. There are definitely more people that are excited by it,” she said.
GinFinity will be located at 64-68 Monbulk Road, Belgrave.