Meet the Disiller | Gabor Ovari, Ol’ Castle Artisan Distillery

Ol' Castle Artisan Distillery tells the story of Gabor and Peter Ovari, who came from Hungary to New Zealand 22 years ago.

Having been brought up in a tradition of producing fruit brandy, Gabor Ovari learned the tricks of the trade from his father and grandfather.

When he arrived in New Zealand, he longed for the taste of quality homemade fruit brandy, providing him with seeing the gap in the market.

Beginning with a small spirit still and finding a collection of fresh New Zealand fruit, Gabor Ovari produced his own specialty 'apple pie' fruit brandy.

"All my friends were impressed and loved it, encouraging me to expand and start a commercial distillery for all to enjoy," said Gabor Ovari.

In 2018, Gabor Ovari partnered with his brother Peter Ovari to create Ol' Castle Artisan Distillery.

The name, Ol' Castle, comes from their Hungarian family name being translated into English, providing them with a sense of family history and a catchy distillery name.

Their philosophy is to follow old family traditions and recipes while incorporating new fruit flavours such as Kiwi Fruit and Feijoa, which are nowhere to be found in Hungary.

With positive feedback from customers and professionals alike, winning the Silver Medal for their 'Applie Pie' flavour and Bronze for 'Plum' at the New Zealand Spirits Awards in 2023, the Ovari's are constantly looking to produce new experiences.

Developing the 'Kiwi Spirits' flavour, a tarty Kiwi classic is one of their premium products. They believe it is an excellent representation of blending their Hungarian history with their newfound love for New Zealand.

They are diligent with their waste compost throughout their production process of using only natural fruit. The residue at the end of distillation is only pure fruit, fibre and water.

On top of this, they ensure all of the materials of the purchasable product are entirely recyclable, encouraging sustainable behaviours.

Moving forward, Gabor intends to continuously make real fruit brandy and provide people with a fulfilling and enjoyable experience.

"In my career, I always try to give my best and satisfy the customers through our brandy, giving them a drink to remember," said Gabor.

With Peter's recent move to Australia, the duo intend to begin exporting across the ditch, potentially introducing new flavours along the way.