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Meet the makers, growers and crafters making their mark in Ballarat

Visit Ballarat

29 Apr 2022

Filed underMakers & Growers

There is no doubt that Ballarat’s rich natural characteristics serve as a lodestone of sorts for producers the country over.

Winemakers, artisans, farmers and chefs are drawn to the region’s cool climate, native landscape, bountiful produce, complex soil and slow-growing paddocks, patches and vines – all which combine to forge creations of joy, inspiration and pure delight.

We spoke to four of our passionate makers about where they source their inspiration and asked them to tell us why their hometown is the perfect canvas from which to make and create.

Ed Nolle, Dollar Bill Brewing

“I’m Ed, I’m the brewer for Dollar Bill Brewing here in Ballarat.

We produce barrel-aged sour beers, so it’s the time we take and the care we take in our blending process and the quality of the raw materials that we source that makes what we make.

The growers and makers of the Ballarat region all contribute to what we produce. It’s intrinsic to what we do. For sourcing raw ingredients from grains to fruit, to hops. The region’s got everything.

You can taste our beers and you can explore all these deep depths of flavour within that. The Ballarat climate is perfect for what we do and what we make.

There’s only a handful of these producers in Australia and pretty much a couple of handfuls in the world. It’s a little bit of inspiration from the Belgian producers and a little bit of inspiration from winemaking and wild fermentation.

We make stuff that we want to drink and people enjoy it.”

John Harris, Mitchell Harris Wines

“We opened Mitchell Harris Wines here in the heart of the Ballarat CBD, in this old electric motor workshop so that we could sell not only our wines, but showcase the best wines from the region.

We work with a number of growers in Ballarat and the surrounding regions who lovingly grow grapes to help craft our wines.

I’m all about making wines of elegance and finesse and Ballarat is perfectly suited to grow those grapes for those wine styles. So I guess the artistry is in the tasting and the blending and knowing when to intervene.The wines I love to craft are generally from cooler, slow-growing vineyards, they have complexity and real freshness and drinkability.

We love to share our wines with our guests here to surprise them, to delight them, to put a smile on their face and make their day better with a glass of local wine.”

Rebecca Matthews & Chris Pratt, Kilderkin Distillery

“When the customer walks through the door into Kilderkin Distillery, we’re not just offering them a drink, we’re offering them a whole experience. We’re telling them about the production of gin, the botanicals that go into it. We’re telling them about the history of distilling in Ballarat.

Ballarat had the first legal distillery in the colony of Victoria, and we really began the distilling industry again here.

We make gins through extracting the flavours from botanicals by distillation. We take the vapours from the alcohol and water mixture and force them through the botanicals, and by doing so we produce the flavours that you’ll find when you open one of our bottles.Sourcing local ingredients for our business is very important to us.

We work very hard to get what we can from Ballarat. And recently we’ve really pushed the limits in this, because we’ve actually worked with the Ballarat Botanical Gardens and sourced a lot of our plants from the gardens to produce a special gin.”

Brigid Corcoran, Saltbush Kitchen

“I’m Brigid from Saltbush Kitchen and we are located in a beautiful village called Buninyong on the outskirts of Ballarat.

Saltbush Kitchen is a story about Australian food and art. What we do is explore the beautiful flavors of the Australian landscape, often known as bushfoods, things like lemon myrtle and pepperberry and mountain pepper and what we do is create products that make it easy for our customers to enjoy those flavors in their own home.

You sprinkle it on, you crumble it on, you rub it on and what you get is really delicious Australian flavour, and I know from the feedback I get from customers, there is an emotional connection sometimes to what these products are because it takes them to a place that they love or it reminds them of a landscape that they love.

It is about bringing that Australian joy to people’s cooking.”

Discover more Ballarat makers, creators, crafters and producers here.

Across Victoria’s Midwest, we acknowledge that we travel across the ancient landscapes of many First Peoples communities.

These lands have been nurtured and cared for over tens of thousands of years and we respect the work of Traditional Custodians for their ongoing care and protection.

We recognise the past injustices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in this country. As our knowledge grows, we hope that we can learn from their resilience and creativity that has guided them for over 60,000 years.

As we invite people to visit and explore Victoria’s Midwest, we ask that alongside us, you also grow to respect the stories, living culture and connection to Country of the Ancestors and Elders of our First Peoples.