Last year husband and wife duo April and Mark Greenfeld put the mayhem of the Black Summer Bushfires and COVID behind them and finally opened the doors of their distillery in Wollongong’s northern suburbs.
Less than a year later, Wolf & Woman (W&W) has now set its sights on tripling its physical footprint.
The current space in Bellambi was transformed in 2022 from an industrial warehouse into a boutique distillery producing gin, vodka and liqueurs. This facility also houses a cellar door, wholesale and distribution operations and event space.
Then there’s the bar. A chilled-out, family and dog-friendly space where people can sit among the beautiful copper stills and enjoy a tasting or even participate in gin schools, creating their own recipe using a range of botanicals and taking home a bottle.
It’s an oasis in a largely industrial area – and it was hard won, as April explains.
“Two years into COVID, trying to set up a new business felt like it was never going to happen. The setbacks and heartbreaks were never-ending,” she says.
“But we pushed through the dark times and have grown so much in this first year that it feels like a lifetime ago.”
April is a part of the growing contingent of women in the distilling industry, which was for many years male-dominated. It’s a point of pride.
“I believe that men and women will inevitably have different experiences, backgrounds and beliefs, which shape their approaches to business. Challenging each other and collaborating with people who think differently can breed creativity and promote the innovative ideas that push organisations forwards,” she says.
“It’s very exciting to see more and more female business owners and distillers coming forward in Australia and being a part of that change is very exciting.”
April says the name Wolf & Woman reflects the family credo and the business ethos.
“Wolf packs function like families – like us,” she says.
“Wolves and women have much in common; they share a wild spirit, are instinctual creatures, extremely loyal and protective of their families.
“Other common traits are drive, passion, friendship, teamwork, freedom and playfulness, all of which we believe are amazing values for a family to live by.”
This family includes the Illawarra community, which April says embraced them “with open arms” and which the business now looks to give back to.
They sponsor local charity events, donate thousands to Illawarra charities, schools, sporting clubs and institutions, host Illawarra food trucks, and feature the wares of local wine-makers and breweries at their bar.
In its current staple range the business creates four gins, a vodka and a limoncello, Caffe Liqueur with whiskey on the way. While they nut this last one out, the bar carries 30 Australian whiskies from distilleries like themselves that Mark hand-selected.
These can be tasted at the bar, along with W&W’s popular gin paddles – three gins in custom nosing glasses accompanied with paired tonics, garnishes, ice and expert guidance. There’s also a reverent approach to cocktails.
“We take our cocktails very seriously – the prep work is very time-consuming but worth it,” April says.
“Not only do we make the spirits, garnish syrups and some sodas ourselves, but we grow and make the garnishes, hand juice all lemons and limes daily and freshly brew the coffee that makes our cocktails so amazing.
“We don’t do things by halves.”
For their new location, the couple has set their sights on a larger space close to the current address, which they will again transform from warehouse to bar amid the distillery, where people can watch production.
“We will be a whopping three times the size of what we were before with a function room, outside area and a place for kids and families and animals,” April says.
“We’re not going far, though. The Illawarra embraced us with open arms, and we look forwards to sharing the journey with this community in the new bigger space for summer 2025.”
Wolf & Woman Distillery is located at 6 Bellambi Lane, Bellambi, Unit 14 – across from Holy Spirit Oval in the Bellambi Commercial Centre.
The cellar door is open Wednesday to Saturday from 12 pm to 8 pm and the bar is open Friday to Saturday from 12 pm to 8 pm with food trucks.
Happy hour takes place from 5 pm to 6 pm on Fridays and 12 pm to 1 pm on Saturdays.