Hospo CheckIn: Gilles Lapalus & Shaun Byrne

Gilles Lapalus and Shaun Byrne, the boys behind Maidenii Vermouth, ‘mothballed’ everything as soon as COVID-19 restrictions started to kick in. They stood back, cleaned out their library of botanicals and slowly developed a hand sanitiser (that smells beautiful). 

We checked in to see how they’re going.

1. How did the restrictions unfold for you as vermouth producers, what affected the business immediately ?

Shaun: “We saw the writing on the wall when restrictions were starting on restaurant numbers.

We decided very quickly to mothball everything and bunker down. 

Gilles was in the middle of vintage so he focussed on that and business-wise we pulled expenses, whatever we could stop we stopped. 

We did a clean out of our botanical library that were under tinctures. They some had lost intensity and are no good for vermouth. We freshened them up with some botanicals from Gilles’s garden and have created a Cosmetic sanitiser. 

We watched hand sanitisers being developed and happening around us but we don’t rush in to things, so we took time to develop one.  You can buy directly from us at the moment.” 

2. What surprised you about yourselves during this time? 

Gilles: “If anything it comforted me in my existing beliefs that slower and smaller is better. It’s been a good handbrake for everything and given us all time to return to what is essential.”

Shaun:  “For me, it  was not so  much about reflection as taking action and dealing with what comes. Sometimes inaction is the action, but I just got on with it. 

Our business is structured in such a way that we are well set up to weather storms.”

3. How are you both? 

G:  “Country life is good.”

S: “It’s been a rough month, but you deal with what’s in front of  you.”

You can buy Maidenii hand sanitiser from: 

The Bitters Lab, 

Shop 9

397 Smith St, Fitzroy 


For any wholesale enquiries: 

 shaun@maidenii.com.au or gilles@maidenii.com.au 

© 2018 Blund


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