Page 24 - Food & Drink Magazine Nov-Dec 2018
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Silly Yaks
A former IT high-flyer has created a bakery business where fun is paramount and people mean as much as the product.
BRYN Pears was once a high flyer in the IT world. Things began to change in 2002 when he joined a fledging Melbourne café serving coffee and gluten-free cake.
Within 12 months the business had become a full-service restaurant, retailing 35 different products that were baked in the café kitchen.
Wholesale enquiries began to arrive from health-food shops and specialty stores wanting to resell the product.
In 2003, a separate facility was created for the bakery, and in October 2008 Pears sold the café to a third-party, and Silly Yaks was born.
Looking at the gluten-free industry, he saw it was a niche market in its infancy.
“It has turned out to be a much larger market than any of us who have been here for a long time expected it to be. It continues to grow at double- digit growth globally, so much so that big companies are starting to get involved.”
Silly Yak Foods sees itself as a special dietary requirements food company. “GF is too narrow a niche, because we cater to a lot of other dietary requirements. We are a clean label company,” Pears says.
Deviant Distillery
Chemistry, price point, and environmental consciousness all play a part in delivering a 10-week single-malt spirit from a group of whisky-loving Tasmanian entrepreneurs.
INDUSTRIAL chemist John Hyslop and his colleagues pondered the inefficiencies caused by the loss of whisky in a barrel through evaporation and calculated a loss that amounts to the equivalent of a bottle of spirit per barrel.
That loss is a waste of water, the grain used in the distillation as well as the energy used to make it.
With that on his mind, Hyslop went home and began experimenting. Two years later, he launched his first product: a single-malt spirit under the brand name Deviant Distillery. Official production began in July last year.
In Australia, product must be aged for two years in barrels to legally be called “whisky”, hence Deviant Distillery’s product description of “single-malt spirit”. The distillery name comes from the fact it doesn’t make its spirit in the usual way. Using ultrasonic cavitation, Hyslop accelerates the ageing process by manipulating the physical elements that govern esterification, oxidation – and evaporation.
“In simple terms, ultrasonic cavitation helps you put the jigsaw pieces together in a way you want them to be. On one hand it’s like a really, really fast stirrer that makes molecules touch each other, but on the other hand it puts energy into the system,” Hyslop says.
Process aside, the spirit does use whisky’s traditional four ingredients: barley, water, yeast and oak. They use no additives and distilling is done by hand in a copper-pot still.
“This is a product for a new generation of whisky drinkers: it’s targeted towards the 24 to 35-year-olds, who are more concerned about how the product tastes and whether or not care was put into it when it was made,” Hyslop says.
Deviant Distillery’s marketing is edgy and fun, and the word “innovative” is used a lot, but there’s a respect for history.
“We’re trying to make the best spirit we can, so everything is done by hand and we brew and distill everything we sell on-site,” Hyslop says.
“Everything up until the product’s age is what you would expect from an ultra-premium
“In saving three to four per cent, even in our small size, we save hundreds of thousands of litres of water. We save hundreds of kilograms of oak. And we save on grain usage and irrigation as well; because we don’t have that evaporation, we use 25-50 per cent less grain,” he says. “So when all of those things are combined, we’re able to create a very
“ This is a product for a new generation of whisky drinkers: it’s targeted towards the 24 to 35-year olds, who are more concerned about how the product tastes...”
spirit. We just age it a bit differently and that allows us to put the product out at the price point that people can afford.”
Another important driver for Deviant Distillery is the environmental impact of its production methods.
Hyslop says that although they are not able to eliminate 100 per cent of the evaporation, the process used does cut it down quite a lot.
similar product with about half of the resources going in and less than 10 per cent of the waste going out in just a fraction of the time.”
Deviant Distillery has now upgraded to a 150-litre still, which has enabled it to triple production.
Despite small output, the increase allows the company to push into retail on the mainland of Australia.
24 | Food&Drink business | November-December 2018 |

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