Earlier this year, Archie Rose Distilling Co. achieved the lofty goal of sourcing all of its malt from Australia, mostly within NSW. It’s a target that’s been eight years in the making for the award-winning maker of whisky, gin, vodka and rum.
“Our focus is on working with local growers to ethically source and showcase the very best native and local Australian ingredients,” says Archie Rose founder Will Edwards. “Being able to smoke whiskies using native red gum and stringybark timber verse freighting peated malt from Scotland is something we’re immensely proud of.”
Before the launch of Archie Rose in 2014, Edwards noticed that despite Sydney’s incredible bar and restaurant scene, it didn’t have a single distillery. Although he was working in a corporate role at the time, he was passionate about home brewing and started researching during his downtime in hopes of being the one to do it.
After six months, Edwards left his job to travel to New York and get some first-hand experience. Then he went all-in on making it happen, setting up the Rosebery distillery.
“I’ve always been of the mindset that if you’re going to commit to something, commit fully,” he says. “That was reflected in the investment we made in our equipment, team, research and development, and even in the patience we showed waiting five full years before releasing our first batch of whisky, when most brands typically wait two.”
Their whisky isn’t the only product causing a stir. Archie Rose Native Botanical Vodka was named Australia’s best botanical vodka at the World Vodka Awards in 2022.
They’re even shaking up the canned-cocktails shelves, with a range that includes Archie Rose Blackberry Spritz. Unlike many other RTDs that are made with artificial modifiers, Archie Rose’s version contains real-deal local flavours only, of course.
We’ve come to expect nothing less than unique from the master crafters at Archie Rose. They “like to keep things interesting” by releasing several “pretty quirky” products every year, says Edwards.
When it comes to obstacles, they think outside the box. When the bushfires hit, the team went on to use smoke-tainted grapes in early 2020 to create a ‘shiraz spirit’ that was well received. And when one of the team members mistakenly mixed two different whisky types together, they tasted the result with optimism. It was found to be so good they released it to the public – and the team member was promoted!
Their innovative philosophy is open to be experienced by the public too, as you can visit their Rosebery bar to try their signature cocktails. They also run Archie Rose tour and tasting sessions, and whisky- and gin-making masterclasses, where you can make your own custom spirits. With their new Botany distillery recently launched in 2020, the innovation will continue, two-fold.
“It features a number of custom-designed and, in some instances, globally-unique production elements, including cold-vacuum distillation for our gins and vodkas, and individual malt streams for our whiskies,” explains Edwards. “The quality of spirits we can produce out of this distillery is shockingly good.”