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Nil Desperandum: Certified organic rum produced in the Sunshine Coast cane fields

Liquor lovers searching for a locally produced and certified organic rum can visit Queensland’s Nil Desperandum on the Sunshine Coast, a short walk from the iconic Big Pineapple.

Their dark rum was launched in February 2022 and promoted as the first Australian certified organic molasses rum.

While many rums on the market are sweetened, coloured and flavoured, the team at Nil Desperandum (Latin for ‘Nothing to Despair’) opt for a more natural approach. Their initial launch ‘FIRST’ contains only certified organic molasses from nearby Bundaberg, Woombye water, and yeast, aged in sherry-soaked oak barrels.

Co-founder and ‘Chief Enjoyologist’ Michael Conrad has a long history with organic ingredients as a former owner of a fine dining establishment. The decision to release a certified organic rum was not for economic reasons, but rather due to Nil Desperandum’s values as a brand.

“If there is an opportunity and availability to provide a certified organic rum to the public, we felt that it was something we should do. For me, the Sunshine Coast is synonymous with cane growing, which I’d see as I used to drive up the Sunshine Motorway.”

“As for flavours, the beautiful aromatic rums of the Caribbean are what inspired us on this project. With the use of organic molasses, wild yeast ferments and a few other little helps from our natural environment, hopefully we can achieve that in that near future.”

The Nil Desperandum team takes a keen interest in sustainability, striving for minimal intervention upon their semi-rural environment. The company’s main waste is the byproduct from fermentation of their organic molasses, which is high in mineral content and has some protein from yeast cells. This byproduct is sent to farmers in the region as supplementary cattle feed. Other light waste is treated onsite and used to irrigate the property.

Rum has to age in a barrel for two years, with the first Nil Desperandum rum launching on 22 February 2022 at 2.22pm in a nod to this number. The certified organic molasses arrives in Woombye from Bundaberg and is stored under high pressure, before a natural ‘wild’ fermentation process takes place. All production, bottling and marketing for Nil Desperandum is conducted onsite, with the company working toward a larger commercial release in 2023.   

To find out more about the values and product range of Nil Desperandum, make sure you check out their website and follow them on Instagram. The Nil Desperandum team are also behind the popular Sunshine & Sons spirit brand.