The Druce family has converted its second flour mill into a cafe and distillery.

Story by Hannah Seward

The Corowa Whisky & Chocolate Factory was born on the banks of the Murray River after six years of hard work renovating an abandoned flour mill on the edge of town. The Druce family took on the project following a previous venture converting a similar old mill in Junee, NSW, into a successful licorice and chocolate factory. 
Alan Druce began farming organic produce in the 1960s when his peers laughed at him. Now the Druce family produces world-class organic licorice and chocolate using ingredients grown locally and on their own farm. 
Having perfected the art of manufacturing delicious licorice and chocolate, as well as running a cafe, restaurant and events venue in Junee, Alan’s son Neil began looking for a new opportunity and the old Corowa flour mill became the next family challenge. 
Neil’s son, Dean, managing director at Corowa, smiles as he remembers the renovation effort. “The mill was in a terrible state when we bought it,” he says. “It had no roof, no power or gas and was basically derelict. The first job was to re-stump and straighten the entire building, which is essentially one huge 12,000 square metre room. We replaced 504 panes of glass, a lot of timber and countless bricks. The whole project took around six years.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #108

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sep 2016