Brisbane Distillery Company expands with a new-look gin school and cocktail bar
It’s been less than a year since Brisbane Distillery officially opened the doors to its West End HQ, but already the business has flourished – helping spearhead the ongoing homegrown spirit revolution. Today, Thursday October 1, marks a big step in the distillery’s evolution – the crew has expanded its premises to include a swish 23-metre-long cocktail bar and an enhanced gin school, where guests can whip up a bottle of their own devising. This place is a serious gin lover’s paradise – take a look inside!
The exponential growth of West End-based Brisbane Distillery Company has been one of 2020’s biggest success stories. When owner and master distiller Jon Atherton opened the small-batch distillery and gin school on Jane Street in November 2019, it didn’t take long for word to spread, with many spirit sippers becoming enamoured with the prospect of hand crafting a bottle of gin to call their own. The distillery seemed to flourish even during the onset of COVID-19, with a savvy pivot to the production and distribution of hand sanitiser helping the business navigate the months of uncertainty. Even with all the early success, few predicted an expansion this quickly. That being said, Brisbane’s appetite for artisanal spirits – especially locally made ones – seems to have no limit, and Brisbane Distillery is gamely stepping up to meet demand. Today marks the official opening of Brisbane Distillery’s sizeable cocktail bar and new-look gin school, which is housed in the 260-sqm space adjacent to the team’s original two-level warehouse HQ, just across the road from Davies Park.
Beyond the wide double-door entrance on the corner of Jane Street and Montague Road sits the lengthy cocktail bar, which blends a tasting counter and retail space with the traditional bar elements. The white-topped marble bar is accentuated with octagonal brass tiling, both of which help offset the royal blue colour scheme that coats the walls and shelves. Leather stools line the length of the bar, while cushy booths at the windows will be a popular sipping spot for many. In the heart of the venue sits the new gin school, which has descended from the mezzanine level of the original building to occupy a larger space. Roughly 30 gleaming copper stills sit inside, with shelves of botanicals (more than 150 ingredients are on display) ready and waiting for some mad-scientist distilling. The gin school hosts two-hour classes led by a distilling pro, with groups able to create their own 500-ml bottle to take home, while enjoying some crafted beverages as they concoct. Brisbane Distillery’s original space houses the distilling and bottling apparatus (the state-of-the-art iStill and rotary evaporator) as well as a commercial kitchen, which doubles as a laboratory for tinkering and trialling new additions to the core range.
A bar this impressive deserves a similarly grand drinks list to match, and Brisbane Distillery delivers in spades. On the 25-strong cocktail list are concoctions like the What’s Up Doc? – a take on the bloody Mary that blends carrot and pumpkin with gin – It’s Not Easy Being Green, a vegetable-loaded number blending gin, celery and pea, the honeydew, pandan, coconut and vodka-infused Viva Brisvegas, and the Rituals And Ceremonies, which serves a vivid hue-changing concoction of purple goji, coconut, yuzu and gin served in a glass teapot. The bar also offers its spin on the negroni, spritz, mule and gimlet, so those that back the classics will have lots of options to enjoy. If you love little details, keep an eye on the ice – the team melt the Brisbane Distillery logo into the oversized cubes, and also brand the citrus peel with it as well. Brisbane Distillery’s award-winning gin range has flourished since its debut, expanding beyond the Brisbane Dry and Queensland Dry to include drops like the Big Red (a robust gin infused with sun-dried tomato, tomato flakes, basil, celery and pepper), Phat Chai (a gin infused with chai spice aromatics like cardamom, clove, ginger and cinnamon with a citrus finish) and the Game of Eucalyptus (an all-Australian affair with Kakadu plum, finger lime, strawberry eucalyptus and lemon myrtle). Add to that Brisbane Distillery’s own Brown Snake rhum and the Pine Lime Splice vodka, and you’ve got plenty of worthy additions to your home bar.
Brisbane Distillery Company’s cocktail bar and gin school officially open today. If you’re seeking trading hours and booking details, you can find them in the Stumble Guide.
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