Introducing Our Innovative New Distillery
The Archie Rose team is proud to announce that we’ve commenced production at our new distillery in Banksmeadow, Sydney, just 4km south of the original Rosebery site. The new space supports Archie Rose’s plans to expand production of our whiskies, gins, vodkas, rums and other spirits. Exciting times ahead.
Having always valued innovation, we’re thrilled that the new site features a number of custom designed and world-first production elements that enable us to transition to “cold distilled” botanicals for our gin & vodka ranges. We’ve also been able to implement a highly innovative and patented whisky production process that we’ve been developing for over four years.
“In terms of production scale this new distillery is a significant step towards fulfilling our ambition of showcasing Australia’s incredible ingredients and innovation in distilling globally and giving more people the opportunity to drink quality, local spirits,” says Archie Rose founder, Will Edwards.
“The innovation and flexibility we have therefore built into the new distillery is, as far as we know, unprecedented at this scale, and allows us to absolutely commit to techniques and processes we’ve spent the past six years delving deep into at our Rosebery distillery, including specialty roasted local malts, cold-distilled botanical distillates and individually distilled malt whisky streams.”
This design has resulted in Archie Rose evolving from a traditional full lauter mash tun setup to a mash filter (one of only a handful in the world used in distilling). This allows us to better process and extract flavour from each of Archie Rose’s seven characterful malts, including specialty roasted local malts and heritage varieties that have been grown exclusively for us.
The Banksmeadow distillery also features two new copper pot whisky stills. The remarkable stills both have neck cooling jackets allowing the production team to adjust the reflux and style of spirit in a way that could typically only be achieved by altering the shape of the still. Each spirit produced can therefore be customised and refined to accentuate the flavour of the malt and suit the nominated cask type and size.
It's been a long time coming, but after almost four years of development, the team has begun a patented “individual malt stream” process for producing whisky, whereby, to use our Single Malt Whisky as an example, each malt in our six-malt mash bill is milled, brewed, fermented, distilled and matured separately or alongside a single base malt. This allows our team to tailor every step of the production process, including brewing temperatures, yeast selection, cask type, distillation rates, and maturation conditions to each specific malt, rather than having to settle for “average” conditions that suit the whole mash bill.
Specific to our gins, we’ve designed and installed identical 500 litre and 3000 litre copper pot and column hybrid vacuum stills, the only example of their kind in the world. This means the production team can now “cold distil” their botanical distillates by utilising the reduced boiling points created by drawing a vacuum within the still, eliminating the damaging impact of heat on delicate botanicals. The stills are also capable of more than twelve different configurations, including a column, carter head, dephlegmator and purifier, to ensure that the best flavour is exacted from every botanical.
Archie Rose founder Will Edwards (left) and master distiller Dave Withers
Keen to honour the rich history of rum production in Australia and empowered by the new distillery’s innovation and versatility, we've also begun research and development to produce a molasses spirit. To further support this exploration, we’ve built a dedicated research lab in which desktop fermentations, distillations and sensory analysis can be carried out with the utmost precision. The R&D centre will be used to trial, optimise and push the boundaries of traditional rum production techniques, as well as bolster the continuous improvement and innovation of the currently distilled whiskies, gins and vodkas.
“When we started designing this distillery, we had the opportunity to look at how we were distilling and what excited us with fresh eyes,” says Edwards. “From our time at Rosebery, we were able to test and pressure check many of the traditional methods of production and found that in many ways they didn’t make sense or didn’t produce the best result, so we had to move beyond them and, often drawing inspiration from innovative brewers, winemakers, growers and other producers, establish new traditions from which to build upon.”
“For six years, we have championed the quality and distinct regional character of the raw materials we use, and now we can complement those rare ingredients with a uniquely progressive approach to distilling,” explains our Master Distiller, Dave Withers. “This distillery is brimming with flexibility and ground-breaking innovation; it is as if we have combined a dozen craft distilleries into one.”
“This new site is capable of creating spirits that can truly challenge the accepted norms of spirit production,” says Withers. “By looking to the most potent aspects of the distilling past and fusing them with the most inspiring elements of contemporary Australia, we hope to inspire people to broaden their view on what great modern Australian distilling can be.”
Our Banksmeadow site also features several advanced energy efficiency measures, reducing power, gas and water usage per LAL by more than 30% from the original Rosebery site, while all spent grain, botanicals and pot ale is recycled into livestock feed or natural fertiliser. A centralised bond store at the new distillery also means existing whisky stock can be more proactively monitored, and a dedicated drinks lab will allow for increased production of bottled cocktails and other products in the pipeline.
Moving to the new Banksmeadow site has also allowed us to bring all our packaging, raw materials, and the Archie Rose office team together under one roof. In line with our desire to educate, share and create more quality Australian spirits across the board, the distillery will also provide contract distilling services to other drinks producers, while the original Rosebery site will feature an expanded cellar door, spirits education and events offering.
Needless to say, there are big things are on the horizon here at Archie Rose and we look forward to continuing to share our journey with you. Stay tuned.