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  • Liane Morris

The Willy Wonkas of Spirits... Small Mouth Vodka!

Recently taking out three silver medals in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Small Mouth Vodka is proving that its signature shimmer is ready to take on the world. Their expanding range of spirits with edible glitter is proving popular with all ages, and the businessmen behind the brand are riding a tidal wave of demand.


The story of Small Mouth Vodka begins in 2014 when the previous owners of the brand, Chris Payton and Rohan Rivett, launched after being inspired by a visit to the distilleries of Scotland. On a mission to create a vodka with an Australian personality, they created a spirit with character and purity that enjoyed some success. Fast forward to 2019, and new owners, Peter Clarke and Paul Addis, with their savvy innovations, have turned the brand on its head.

Peter Clarke is no stranger to success. With a background in accounting, law and economics, he has enjoyed a diversified career in various business enterprises, including Hunter Distillery, Hunter Valley Chocolate Company and The Garden Cellars at Hunter Valley Gardens, which he still owns and runs today. The Small Mouth Vodka Cellar Door is located right next door to The Garden Cellars.

“The existing business of Small Mouth Vodka enjoyed a modest turnover,” said Peter.

“It wasn’t enough to continue with it, but when provided with the opportunity to take it on, I contacted Paul, and we bought it together.”

Recently hailed as the Willy Wonka of vodka, Paul Addis has spent his career working in the alcohol industry – beer, wine and distilled spirits. He worked at Tyrrell’s for ten years, and when he went into business with Peter, it provided the perfect opportunity to work alongside his partner and their children, to create something he truly loved, investing his energy into research and development and broadening the product offerings.

“It was my wife Mel who came up with the glitter idea,” said Paul.

“We were brainstorming ideas to drive the company forward, and she jokingly said that we should add glitter. We took the idea into research and development and have created a unique shimmering spirit that continues to shimmer even after carbonated mixers have been added – unlike our few competitors.”

In a very short space of time, the team behind the brand developed a range of 20 new products. The shimmer effect has no taste and no mouth feel and is a fiercely guarded trade secret. It adds a unique, fun, colourful element to the spirits that enjoy an exceptional degree of purity, being made from premium organic ingredients and pure Australian rainwater.

The process includes the use of traditional copper pot stills, with the spirit being distilled five times before undergoing the charcoal filtration process three times. The result is a consistently fresh and smooth finishing taste that is entirely sippable on its own, on the rocks, in all your favourite cocktails or with your preferred mixer. The flavours challenge preconceived notions of spirits with high alcohol volume.

With their range of gins, vodkas and liqueurs, there is something for every taste. Top sellers include the Shimmering Passionfruit Vodka, Shimmering Caramel Vodka, Shimmering Watermelon Liqueur, and Shimmering Espresso Liqueur (which is perfect for cold winter nights). Free tastings are available at the cellar door at the Hunter Valley Gardens, where you are likely to meet a member of the Addis family who will be only too happy to take you through the range. The recent win at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition saw the Passionfruit Vodka, the Habanero Storm and the Sambuca, all take out a silver medal.

Of course, Paul is continually working on new flavours to tempt our tastebuds. Flavours such as a chocolate cream liqueur and either a strawberry or vanilla cream liqueur, as well as a barrel-aged vodka, are the next products to hit the shelves, and the team of 20 are busy attending trade shows to raise awareness of the brand and keeping up with demand.

So far, sales are only available at the cellar door and online. The cellar door is open 7 days, 10am – 5pm. Growing distribution is the next area of development for the business, but in the meantime, a visit to the cellar door for a free tasting will prove even to the non-spirit drinkers that Small Mouth Vodka is different, that it is smoother and overall, a more enjoyable experience than anything that competes in this market.



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