Riding high on Australia's gin zeitgeist, Victoria's Four Pillars Gin is set to open a distillery, bar and retail space in Sydney's Surry Hills.
It's a bold move for the Yarra Valley company. Their Healesville distillery will remain open (they're even planning extensions in the new year), but the team is heading interstate to ready their multipurpose "gin and drinks lab" on Crown Street for a February opening.
"Our Healesville distillery is for people who want to learn about how we make our gin. The Sydney location is all about great gin-based drinks and cocktails," says Stuart Gregor, co-founder of Four Pillars Gin. The location, he says, is an obvious choice. "We're in the same 'hood as some great mates – Scout Bar, Jared Merlino at Bartolo, James Hird at The Dolphin. We wanted to join the party," he says.
Sliding into the historic Bussell Bros building: a small-batch gin production line (they're bringing their 70-litre copper across the state border) and a cocktail-development "lab". On offer will be masterclasses for both bartenders and the public. "You might go foraging for interesting botanicals, and in two or three hours you'll be tasting the gin coming from our still," says Gregor.
Then there's the retail store for takeaway sales of Four Pillars gin – including the annual releases of their special-edition Bloody Shiraz and Christmas spirits – and gin-spiked salt-and-vinegar chips, salami and marmalade from their Made From Gin product range.
Four nights a week, the space – by design company Amber Road – will open as a public bar. "It will be modern, open, practical and hopefully a little bit quirky as well – we don't do faux old-worldy stuff," says Gregor.
That is, pending the appropriate licences coming through. "It's Sydney after all, and this is a bit more complicated than just opening a small bar," he says. "Fingers crossed."
The Four Pillars Gin and Drinks Lab is slated to open in early 2020 at 410 Crown St, Surry Hills, NSW.