Melbourne Distillers Patient Wolf Find the Sweet Spot Between Tequila and Gin

A Melbourne craft distillery run by friends David Irwin and Matt Argus has unveiled its second release – an Agave Gin Spirit that’s changing the way you think about making your next mixed drink.

The agave and gin fusion spirit was inspired by a Mezcal distillery the pair visited in Mexico; and the rest has been a 12-month development process mastering their own.

“We’re committed to pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo with our range,” says David Irwin who says their decision to venture into the tequila category is due to client demand.

“Our new spirit bridges the gap between tequila and gin and it hits right in the middle of the sweet spot,” he adds.

“It’s for those who like gin, but also like margaritas, and it absolutely works.”

The coming together of two diverse spirits has been a learning journey for the duo who have been experimenting with botanical infusions to get the right balance.

They use organic, blue weber agave nectar from Jalisco, Mexico that’s fermented and distiled in-house to create an agave base spirit. It’s then distilled a second time with a selection of botanicals including juniper, coriander seed and angelica root. This process allows the balance of the agave’s essence and flavour to shine through.

“The caramel honey combined with the light minerality of the agave works really well with the pine, citrus and earthiness that we get from the gin botanicals,” says Argus who also worked with their offsite brewery mates at Wolf of the Willows to perfect the process.

“The key challenge during the process was getting the right balance in getting the familiarity of gin, but ensuing the agave and tequila notes came through. Essentially, we treated the agave base spirit almost like a botanical in its own right, and one that we had to balance with the gin botanicals. It’s been a very fun process to say the least. But a lot of work hence why we only made 1,000 bottles,” he adds.


Our story goes back to our time in London. Both Dave and I had corporate jobs that took us to London. I was there between 2009-2011 and Dave shortly before that. It was during this time that we both grew an appreciation for gin and an interest in how to make it. As an expat living in London, every second week we were on planes exploring Europe, and taking that opportunity to visit all the incredible independent gin distilleries popping up. It changed our perception of what a gin is and what it could be. Prior to that we just thought gin was Beefeater and Gordon’s.  From our travels abroad, we were inspired to start making gin ourselves back in Australia and put our own spin on it, and we thought we could do it better.


We create bold, complex gins that are super smooth and well-rounded which is not easy to do.  This style of gin ensures that they’ll stand tall in drinks when you mix them.  When we first started, one of the gaps we saw was that new gins were pushing into new world territory a little too far. They were delicate and light on flavour. They tasted fine neat, but became lost when mixed in drinks. We didn’t want that.

We were also one of the first distilleries to make Melbourne our home. Most at that stage were in regional areas outside of Melbourne. No-one wants to be the designated driver, so we decided to connect our distillery and brand with this great city and be accessible and real to both locals and people visiting from interstate or overseas. I think we compliment everything this great city does really well, whether that be great food, sport, music, art and culture. It’s great to be right in the thick of it!


We started from a small warehouse in the back streets of Brunswick from 2016-19. We would have one off open days every three months or so, and set up a pop-up bar, and the place would be pumping with 500+ people coming through in an afternoon.  We decided to buck the trend in Australia for regional-based distilleries, and proudly moved our distillery to the heart of the city of Melbourne in Southbank, where we have our world class production facility, as well as a bar and cellar door experience.  We’re totally open and transparent about how we make our gin and what goes in it. That’s why guests can sit at the bar drinking a G&T and look right through the distillery watching the team make it. The distillery offers guests the opportunity to taste the range of Patient Wolf gins, peek behind the scenes at the fully functioning distillery and join intimate gin masterclasses to learn more about the distilling process. All can be booked online.


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