Luke Jacques’ hands are stained yellow from the turmeric that he blends into one of Animus' craft gins, distilled in Kyneton in batches of fewer than 200 bottles.
A former whisky maker, Mr Jacques said he and the distillery’s co-owners wanted "to make a gin that whisky lovers would want to drink", strong across the palette and appealing to those who like to drink their spirits neat.
They would also like to dedicate themselves full-time to their budding business on Piper Street, the historic strip that has been a catalyst for Kyneton’s renewal as a place of artisanal stores and hatted restaurants.
But for the time being Animus’ owners must juggle their passion for gin-making with their other, workaday jobs while trying to grow their business.
It’s a familiar story for many of the state’s small-batch producers of spirits, beer and food, Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said.
"We know just how much producers of craft food and beverages, how much passion they bring to what they do," Ms Pulford said.
Ms Pulford joined Premier Daniel Andrews and his big red campaign coach in Kyneton on Saturday, to pledge that Labor would commit $10 million to a grants scheme for the state's craft beer, food and spirits makers.
"This grants program will enable those dreams to become a reality for so many producers who may be juggling their labour of love with other work commitments and obligations," she said.
Grants of up to $200,000 will be made available to producers who can show they will use the money to expand their operations and create new jobs.
Mr Andrews said the sector had sometimes been overlooked by governments in the past, despite its importance to the state’s tourism market.
"This sector has not necessarily received as much support as it should have, when we see it as such an important part of our tourism offering," Mr Andrews said.
One in six jobs in regional Victoria is in food, wine and brewing, and one in six regional jobs is in tourism, Ms Pulford said.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy was in Melbourne south promising the same amount of money - $10 million - but not for craft brews.
Mr Guy pledged $10 million towards a major regional sporting precinct within the Kingston Green Wedge that would cater for the city's growing population and the increase of female participation in sports like soccer, football, netball, hockey and baseball.
"If it's a choice between handing over millions of taxpayers' dollars to the AFL or spending that money on suburban and country sports clubs, I will choose community sports every single time," Mr Guy said in a statement.
This story originally appeared on The Age