Let the Sun Shine at Sunshine and Suns!

Image source: IN Noosa Magazine

Deb Caruso caught up with Matt Hobson, Founder & Chief Imagineer of Sunshine & Sons and Nil Desperandum to find out what’s distillin’ in the hills of Woombye.

Tell us how the distillery was born?

We’re four best mates that share fond memories of the allure and the warmth of the beautiful subtropical Sunshine Coast and we wanted to bottle what makes the region great. So in July 2019, myself, Michael Conrad, Adam Chapman and Daniel Vinson made the easy decision to leave behind successful careers to follow our passion for this incredible part of the world that we are so lucky to call home.  

How do you bottle a feeling?

We start with love and an understanding of the landscape. Our vodka and gin range is distilled with bespoke Woombye Water, filtered through volcanic rocks harvested from local headlands. Our Pineapple Parfait Gin celebrated the 50th anniversary of our iconic neighbour, The Big Pineapple; Mr Barista is a coffee and macadamia-infused molasses spirit; and our Nil Desperandum Rum is made using Australian certified organic molasses, Woombye water, yeast and nothing else. 

How can people experience your offer?

It’s all about liquid on lips and meeting our incredible team. Our Distillery Door offers a genuine experience with a guided complimentary tasting of our entire range overlooking the lush surrounds of Woombye. We are open seven days and encourage guests to stay on and enjoy a cocktail, taking in lush rainforest views. We also offer a selection of cheeses and organic sourdough lavosh from our local heroes – Woombye Cheese and Maroochydore’s Silver Tongue Foods.

Tell us about the awards you’ve won?

After just 18 months in business, the Australian Gin Awards awarded our Small Batch Barrel Aged Gin the Best in Class trophy for Best Matured Gin; and our Original Dry Gin won Gold. With 370 entries submitted across seven categories this confirmed we were on the right track. I’ve just returned from Melbourne where our Original Dry Gin was a Local Product of the Year finalist at the Endeavour Group (Dan Murphys and
BWS stores)
Annual Supplier Awards.

We were one of only three gins to be nominated amongst several thousand competitors which reflects the success of our flagship gin and just how loved it is by gin drinkers across Australia.

Our Original Vodka is filtered through millennial-old Sunshine Coast volcanic rock and recently won Silver Medals at the London Spirits Competition and the London based International Wine & Spirits Competition. As a result, we’ve received
a number of export enquiries. Watch this space – World Domination is coming!

What is on the horizon?

Our Original Dry Gin was recently added to all Queensland Liquorland stores and First Choice stores nationally and we’re very proud to take the very best of the Sunshine Coast to the rest of Australia!

Who are the women in your lives?

Maria and Sarah are our imposing and elegant 6,000 and 2,500 litre Tasmanian artisan pot stills. Designed by our Head Distiller Adam Chapman and hand-made in Tasmania from the finest German copper, they’re an integral element of our vision to ‘Let The Coast Spirit Shine’. Ask the origins of their names when you visit the distillery – it’s a great yarn. 

How are you handling business growth?

We’re a people business and our growing team are making amazing happen every day. I’m delighted their efforts are paying off with the numbers of visitors at an all-time high; increased distribution networks and more locals loving our sips on their lips!

Tell us about the Nil Desperandum rum?

Nil Desperandum, meaning ‘do not despair or worry’ was released on Tuesday 22 February 2022 at 2.22pm, and is the first Australian rum utilising certified organic molasses and proudly boasts Australian Certified Organic certification. The 476-bottle limited edition First Rum is almost sold out and the second limited edition Rum – One Second – has been released at the Distillery Door. It’s an absolule belter for any fans of premium dark spirits. We love serving neat it over ice or with a quality ginger beer and squeeze of lime.

How do you give back to the community?

We’ve have had successful charity collaborations with Bloomhill Cancer Care (in conjunction with Raelene Boyle); and Paul Kelly to support western Queensland, among other community-focused partnerships. The launch of Nil Desperandum saw 222 mini 200ml bottles of First rum released with 100% of the profits (or $22,222) donated to STEPS Pathways Charity. 

Sunshine and Sons. Visit the Distillery Door to experience the range firsthand. Open 7 days, 104 Nambour Connection Road, Woombye. 

About the Author /


Deb has 25+ years' experience providing strategic communications and brand reputation advice to clients in the government, business and not-for-profit clients. She is passionate about Noosa and is an active member of her community, providing PR to Slow Food Noosa and other clients. Her passion lies in working with small businesses to help them succeed. She is planning to release the Tastes of Noosa cookbook with Matt Golinski in 2019.

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