Puhoi Organic Distillery

By: Jill Malcolm , Photography by: Jill Malcolm


Travel writer Jill Malcolm discovers the ‘spirits of the future’ at the Puhoi Organic Distillery

If anyone can produce a better alcoholic drink," Alex said, "I will cut off my left ear."
It would be hard to find a better product endorsement.

Alex -Kirichuk -with -sprits -labelled -for -the -Royal -Auckland -Yacht -Squadron

Alex Kirichuk and his wife Iryna have developed alcoholic beverages they call "spirits of the future" and I was about to find out why.

Dark -Spiced -Rum --

A small workshop at the back of the couple’s Puhoi property is the engine room of the Puhoi Organic Distillery. Alex ushered me past the distilling paraphernalia and up the stairs to the mezzanine floor where, seated at a small table, I was offered hearty samples of the distillery’s smooth, deliciously flavoursome vodka, gin, whisky, vermouth, and a large honey-and-vodka-centred Bliss Ball. He’d obviously tagged me early on as an eager imbiber.

Savignon -Blanc -vodka-

To my surprise, I did not end up under the table where I’d normally be after such extravagance. All I felt was a slight blurring of the mind. Alex also assured me that in half an hour, I could quite safely drive within the limit.

"Our alcohol is so pure, it leaves the body quickly with no harmful effects and no organ damage. You would have to drink a very large amount to get the slightest hangover," he says.

About the owners

Victoria ,-Alex -and -Iryna -Kirichuk -Emerging -Busines -finalists -in --the -Westpac -Business -Awards -2017-

Had I hit upon the spirit of heaven? Iryna and Alex Kirichuk came to New Zealand from the Ukraine in 2002, drawn down under by their interest in the America’s Cup. Back home, Alex was a nuclear power engineer and (still is) a keen Dragon Class yachtsman.

His wife, Dr Iryna Kirichuk (MD), was a paediatric cardiologist with such a reputation for concocting effective herbal supplements that she had been employed as a health advisor to the USSR Olympic sailing team.

Making New Zealand their home was more attractive than life in the Ukraine. But there was no need for Alex’s expertise here and Iryna did not want to restart her medical career. A business based on Iryna’s tonics was an obvious alternative.

They settled and set up business in the village of Puhoi, north of Auckland. The tonics and supplements Iryna developed are made from natural adaptogens sourced from herbs, fruits, and berries for which alcohol is the best extractor, carrier, and preservative.

The carefully crafted spirit drinks made by the company—gin, vodka, plum wine, brandy, and vermouth—are by-products of the medicinal formulas. The couple, with their daughter, Victoria, work together to produce Iryna’s tonics and the alcoholic beverages that I was so enthusiastically imbibing.

Organic -Distillery -gin -is --available -at -the -Puhoi -Pub

Before I left, I used the in-house breathalyser, which proved what Alex had claimed. Amazingly, I got the green light to drive, and Alex definitely got to keep his ear. The Puhoi Organic Distillery’s spirits are available at the Puhoi Pub and online, and Iryna’s organic tonics at various pharmacies, the Puhoi Store, and online at spirits.net.nz.

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