From dream to reality,a lightning bolt, a decade of preparation, a drastic change of life and a bold move into an undiscovered Patagonia.
Arrival to Chile
Launch Tepaluma Gin
How it began
We are Mark Abernethy from Liverpool (UK), Andrea Zavala Peña (Born in Valparaiso, Chile, raised in Antwerp, Belgium) and our daughter Laura (Born in Antwerp, Belgium, being raised in Chilean Patagonia).
We lived in downtown trendy Antwerp, Belgium and had a cosmopolitan life. Living there was fabulous, but we had a deeply rooted dream in our hearts. We saw ourselves living happy and a tad wild, dedicated to creating the best whisky possible from the purest of ingredients in the middle of vast and vibrant nature. It was a dream that made no sense.
One day in 2008, when leaving the office, Andrea was hit by lightning.
She left home in the morning, on top of the world, in the evening she was hardly able to speak while shaking heavily on a hospital bed. Life changed forever, literally in a flash. Difficult recovery years followed in which we felt the dream growing bolder and louder.
It became a stubborn presence in our hearts, luring us to consider an unknown and reckless future. One day, we asked ourselves: Considering the odds of being hit by lightning, what else could happen to us? Really. What is the worse that could happen to us that couldn´t happen to us in our current lives, other than failing and having to start over again?
Let´s do it! It was the early days of the Gin boom in Europe. We were relishing and falling in love with so many new gins. When we finally stepped onto the path towards our dream of whisky in nature, we emboldened the dream and set out to create a Gin that would make ginlovers´ hearts happy too.
It took years of preparations, rollercoaster experiences, selling everything, leaving Belgium and a year of searching in Chile. The location of the distillery and our new home was an unknown factor when we left Belgium. It would be determined by the source of pure and abundant water for our future whisky. After a real life quest of 8 months, vagabonding and exploring from north to south and east to west, nearly giving up several times, we arrived to a little, rural village named La Junta in Chilean Patagonia.
Waterfalls and turquoise rivers fed by glaciers, snowmelt and abundant rain, surrounded by evergreen, lush rainforests and eternal views of mountains and fields. We knew in our souls we had finally found our new home, so we settled to search locally for a location for our distillery, ignoring the risk of creating a business in an extremely remote area, where we knew nobody and where there was no known demand for gin. We found our place after almost another year in a cow farm on the Carretera Austral. The distillery was born in november 2017 and on the 1st of September 2018, a decade after the lightning bolt and nearly two years after leaving Belgium, we inaugurated it to the locals and launched our first spirit, Tepaluma Gin, The Spirit of the Forest.
We named the distillery "Tepaluma" in honor of local nature that is pure, vast and vibrant just like we dreamed it would be.
The spirit of Tepaluma,
born all those years ago from the longing of our hearts for
REAL TASTE, REAL LUXURIES FOUND IN NATURE and for the thrill of LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST
has finally found a way to exist in the world, manifesting itself in our spirits, mixers and visitors experiences.
We want you to enjoy taste! Enjoy nature!
Enjoy the grand adventure that is life! Enjoy Tepaluma!
Thirsthy for real taste, real nature and living life to the fullest.
Founder & Master Distiller
Founder & CEO