The Spirit of a Nation is born
Vantage was first launched in 2016 by Bill and Andrew Hargitay, a father-and-son team hailing from Melbourne. Bill was a frequent business traveller at the time, and though he enjoyed Russian vodka, British gin and Caribbean rum, it always amazed him that Australia didn't have its own unique spirit lining the shelves of duty free. He realised that in a country known for its world-class wine and beer, there was an opportunity to develop a premium, truly Australian spirit. So, with son Andrew as his business partner, Bill set out to capture and bottle the essence of our sunburnt country.
Inspired by the Australian bush
Vantage wouldn't be possible without the dizzying number of unique botanicals native to Australia. After a lot of tasting and experimentation, we decided on Tasmanian mountain pepper berry, lemon myrtle and Australian-bred mandarin oil for our original recipe. These botanicals bring just the right amount of complexity to an otherwise filtered neutral white spirit; think bright notes of lemon, smoky bush flavours and a hint of orange zest.
Lost in translation
At first, we struggled to convince bottle shops and consumers to look beyond traditional white spirits like vodka and gin. Vantage is neither, despite being made using a similar method. It's in a genre of its own and to overcome these preconceptions, we had to take to the streets - quite literally - to introduce the Australian public to Vantage. We conducted tastings, exhibited at Good Food and Wine shows nationally, and even became the official spirit of the TV Week Logie Awards. Now, Vantage can be found in over 400 bottle shops nationally or sitting pride of place in Australian and New Zealand duty free.
And enjoyed across the world
Vantage may have been born in Australia, but like so many of our icons, it's earned plenty of praise around the world. We were fortunate enough to bring home a Silver at the San Francisco Spirits Awards and the Stuttgart International Spirits Competition and, more recently, a Gold at Chicago's World Cocktail Championships for 'World's Best Gin Martini', Gold despite not even being a gin. Even more recently, 2021, a perfect 100-point score plus a Gold medal at the USA Proof Awards. Talk about the Bradbury effect (if you know, you know). And though these awards are always greatly appreciated, the real buzz - for us at least - comes from knowing that the Spirit of a Nation is being shared in homes and bars across the world, whether it's taken home by a traveller or carried overseas by a spirited Australian.
Endemic to the subtropical rainforests of southern Queensland, lemon myrtle brings a fresh, cooling sensation to the mouth. It's beautifully aromatic, concentrated and complex, delivering citrus notes as well as a smoky bush flavour.
The Tasmanian pepperberry is found throughout Southeastern Australia, from Tasmania through to northern New South Wales. When distilled, it creates a gentle, peppery warmth in the back of the throat, alongside a delicate spice.
Vantage is sweetened and balanced with oil extracted from Australian-bred mandarins, which helps to highlight the other botanicals. It gives the spirit a viscous pour and a pleasantly smooth and memorable aftertaste.