As the thirst for gin continues unabated, Sydney has gained its third distillery, with the launch of Poor Toms Gin in Marrickville.
The brainchild of Griffin Blumer and Jesse Kennedy, the duo began making gin at home a few years ago before investing all their savings in a 200 litre German copper still (named Jane).
“In our share house in Enmore we started trying new German gins, like Monkey 47 and Ferdinand’s, and they blew our minds,” says Blumer. “Jesse hated his job, I was performing Shakespeare to school kids, and we thought, ‘why aren’t we making gin? That seems way more fulfilling’. We realised we needed a bigger still to make something really good, so we spent all the money we saved doing these other jobs on a still.”
Blumer and Kennedy were then joined by one of Australia’s most experienced gin distillers, Marcel Thompson. He began his career as an assistant distiller with United Distillers NZ in 1987, as well as playing apprentice to some of the legends of Australasian gin making. And so Poor Toms was born.
The brand is focussed on creating a gin that is “an idiosyncratic expression of who we are and the city we live in”, trialling over 100 individual distillations in the search for the perfect Sydney Dry Gin.
“We see Sydney as a really ballsy and irreverent place, particularly the Inner West where we live, and where we make the gin,” he says. “The city we know is unconventional and it doesn’t taste like a conservative London dry gin.”
Made with a quality Australian wheat spirit, Poor Toms is distilled with ten botanicals, including fresh green apple, native strawberry gum, and chamomile.
“With a small, craft operation you have the opportunity to make something unique,” says Blumer. “Our German still has a three-plate rectification column, which allows us to be precise and get really clear and bright flavours. So our ingredients give the gin a fresh, floral, delicate fruit profile.”
Unlike their local distilling brethren – Archie Rose and Young Henrys – Blumer and Kennedy are dedicated solely to distilling gin, something that Blumer says was a conscious decision from the outset.
“We think that making a really good gin requires focus and we didn’t want to get distracted by other products,” he says. “When you’re starting a business, or launching a product for the first time, you have to manage your distractions. It’s hard enough making one good product, let alone many.”
He and Kennedy were also excited by he calls the infinite possibilities of gin flavours.
With funds raised through the Pozible crowdfunding platform, the first batch of Sydney Dry Gin, is being bottled this week. And in a sign that bodes well for the future of the brand, the entire run has already sold out – care of their supporters who have pledged over $30,000 to fund the fledgling distillery.