Meet Mick and Mike, our unbeatable distilling duo
The first thing you should know about Mick Hage (left) and Mike Meletopoulo (right) is that they’re a package deal. A duo. A double. Joined-at-the-hip. Mates. A combination of sharp wit, dry banter and rich distilling know-how ensures that when these two are around, you’ll know about it.
For our Master Distiller and head of our distilling pack, Dave Withers, Mick is “one of those rare distillers that puts quality front and centre every day of the week”, while Mike is “an asset to the team with his own unique way of seeing production, with a depth of knowledge about the style that is second to none.”
It was about time we sat down to question these two, so here goes:
Tell us a bit about each of you, how did you get into distilling?
Mick - I studied food science, worked in quality and sensory roles in the brewing, malting and wine industries and from there migrated into distilling nearly 10 years ago.
Mike - I have a brewing background and am currently completing a Masters in Brewing and Distilling. I decided to move into the other aspect of my studies as I’ve always enjoyed whisky, more so after living in Edinburgh for two and a half years.
Is working in a “craft” distillery what you expected?
Mick - in terms of Mike and my experience in the food and beverage industry (in both production and quality positions for me, Mike was in brewing) we had a fair idea of what to expect. It’s nice to do every job, not just one small part, as we’re able to really hone in on product quality, which should always be top priority. The smaller size of the facility (we were used to larger joints!) took a while to adjust to, but that’s all a part of the romance of craft distilling!
What did you expect?
Both - Dynamism!
Mick, how would you describe Mike?
Size 46 feet, great hair/bun/pony/mane, but his patchy beard and pasty skin tone lets him down a little. He loves wearing leather, possesses great beer knowledge and is what one would consider a “beer nerd”. He also really loves a chat first thing in the morning, rather than get stuck into the work! He has something against country music though which I really don’t understand.
Mike, how would you describe Mick?
He’s about 5’9”, small feet, great moustache potential, a couple of grey hairs. He has an unnaturally wide mouth, is always up for a laugh and a couple of beers, has pristinely buffed nails, is a complete germaphobe and a clean freak, but constantly leaves his personal items on the pallet racking after numerous emails regarding not leaving personal items on the pallet rackings. He also makes a mean apple cider vinegar.
If you could each distill anything, what would it be?
Mick - Bacon bones.
Mike - Liberty cap mushrooms!
Mick - Gym session topped off by sweating it out in the sauna.
Mike - Codeine, but Greg Hunt has made that harder now.
Name one thing we don’t know about each of you
Mick - That I’m originally from Tanunda, some would call it “God’s country”.
Mike - I can count to 10 in Mandarin.
Favourite knock-off drink?
Mick - Cold brew and Plantation Dark Rum.
Mike - Plantation Dark Rum and PS40’s Wattleseed Cola.