Co-founder of local gin distillery honoured by being inducted into Gin Hall of Fame

Cameron Mackenzie and Michelle Hall at the World Gin Awards. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Dongyun Kwon

Co-founder and head distiller of Healesville-based gin distillery Four Pillars Cameron Mackenzie was inducted into the Gin Hall of Fame in London by UK’s Gin Magazine, becoming only the second Australian, and 20th person in history, inducted into the industry’s most prestigious realm.

An induction into the Hall of Fame is the highest accolade bestowed by Gin Magazine as part of their World Gin Awards series and celebrates those who have left a lasting mark on the global gin industry.

Mr Mackenzie said he was pumped about it.

“It’s a huge honour and I am humbled they thought of me,” he said.

“It’s also great to see so many other members of the Four Pillars team nominated and win so many accolades at the Gin Awards this year including our entire production and distilling team.”

Four Pillars Rare Old Tom Gin was picked up World’s Best Old Tom Gin 2024 as well as the Four Pillars distilling and production team being awarded Production Team of the Year at the Gin Magazine’s World Gin Awards.

Four Pillars operations director Michelle Hall was awarded Sustainability Officer of the Year for her efforts making Four Pillars one of the most sustainable distilleries in the world and Australia’s first carbon-neutral gin distillery.

Venue manager Scott Gauld was also recognised and awarded the Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year for his incredible efforts running a world-class distillery and hospitality venue in Healesville.

Four Pillars started back in 2013 with two more co-founders Stu Gregor and Matt Jones.

“We started at the back of Rob Dolan’s winery in a tiny space hoping to make about 15,000 bottles in the first year,” Mr Mackenzie said.

“We won some international awards quite early, and this propelled us into shops and bars all around Australia.

“The momentum just didn’t stop and this year we will make around 1.2 million bottles.”

Before Mr Mackenzie founded Four Pillars Gin, he was a professional athlete who went to the Olympics in 1996 to participate in the Athletics Men’s 4x 400m Relay.

Mr Mackenzie said he didn’t grow up thinking about athletics or going to the Olympics.

“I was a good sprinter at school but had never trained a day in my life,” he said.

“I wanted to keep fit when I went to university, so I joined a training group and that unearthed far more ability than I knew I had.

“I ran my first 400m when I was 25 and went to the Olympics a year later. I was very lucky and I loved every minute of it.”

Mr Mackenzie had stepped into the wine industry before he got into gin making.

“When I was training as an athlete, I was also working in the wine industry and when I stopped running, I threw myself into wine,” he said.

“I spent 15 years in wineries before taking a sidestep into gin.

“I love gin and I realised that for most people in the wine industry, gin was their white spirit of choice.”

Four Pillars’ home in Healesville is the most visited hospitality destination in regional Victoria with more than 180,000 annual visitors.

Even though both his co-founders are in Sydney now, he has lived in Healesville for over 15 years.

“I love this region and it is always going to be the home of Four Pillars,” Mr Mackenzie said.

“Four Pillars is building a great team within a community I love.

“It’s great to front up to work and hang out with such a great group of people.”