By Stefanie Collins, editor bars&clubs

The first functional distillery located in the City of Sydney in over 160 years is due to open its doors in March 2015. 

Named the Archie Rose Distilling Co., the distillery also features an on-site bar and is located in the thriving The Cannery precinct, which also houses Kitchen by Mike. The inspiration for the distillery reportedly came from the Tasmanian distilling industry and the urban distilleries of New York and London.

Producing gin, vodka and white (unaged) rye whisky, to be followed by a collection of aged whiskies and tailored spirits, Archie Rose is the brainchild of Sydneysider Will Edwards. Edwards has built an experienced team, including head distiller Joe Dinsmoor – who learned his trade at the award-winning Lark Distillery in Tasmania, sales & marketing manager Nigel Weisbaum – an experience liquor industry vetran, and production manager Dave Withers – who is well known on the Sydney whisky scene through his work at The Oak Barrel. 

The Archie Rose team (L-R): Nigel Weisbaum, Joe Dinsmoor, Will Edwards, and Dave Withers.

Edwards says the return of distilling to Sydney has been a long time coming, and that he feels privileged to be part of it.

“The City of Sydney once had a thriving local distilling industry and culture,” he said. “We’ve been without a dedicated distillery since 1853, so Archie Rose is our way of honouring that rich history while offering Sydneysiders the chance to experience genuine grain to glass spirits production onsite.” 

With no local frame of reference to guide them, Edwards and his team reached out to some of the industry’s top craftsmen including Tasmanian distilling stalwart Bill Lark, stillmaker Peter Bailly and cooper Adam Bones, who generously shared their skill and time.

Housed in a previously vacant 550 square metre warehouse space, the distillery houses an array of custom-made equipment including brushed steel washbacks, oak casks and three purpose-built copper pot stills constructed by hand in Tasmania. The bar, just opposite the open plan distillery, finds its cues in the distilling space with booths shaped like giant whisky barrels and a long copper-topped bar where punters can pull up a stool. 

While the whisky is aging in its barrels, the distillery will be offering its gin, vodka and white (unaged) rye whisky. The gin features a range of Australian botanicals, while the vodka has been allowed to purify through the flocculation method – instead of being put through charcoal filters – preserving the unique flavours of the spirit. 

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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