Australia’s Archie Rose Distilling Company has started production at its new distillery in Sydney, which seeks to push the boundaries of spirit development.
Archie Rose began construction of its second distillery in 2018. The new site in Botany, south east Sydney, is located 4km south of Archie Rose’s Rosebery distillery in New South Wales.
The distillery supports a ‘significant expansion’ in the production of whisky, gin, vodka, rum and other spirits.
The site includes a patented whisky production process which has been in the making for more than four years. The process will see each malt in the six-malt mash bill milled, mashed, fermented, distilled and matured separately to allow the team to tailor every step of production, including yeast selection, cask type and maturation conditions, to each specific malt.
The site also includes the installation of two new copper pot whisky stills, which have neck cooling jackets to allow the production team to adjust the reflux and style of spirit. Each spirit produced can be customised and refined to emphasise the flavour of the malt and suit the relevant cask type and size.
“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,” said 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.”
The design of the site will see Archie Rose transition from using a traditional full lauter mash tun setup to a mash filter to enhance the process and extract flavour from each of the distiller’s seven malts, including specialty roasted local malts and heritage varieties grown specially for Archie Rose.
The facility features custom-designed production elements to allow Archie Rose to move to ‘cold-distilled’ botanicals for its gin and vodka. Archie Rose has designed and installed identical 500-litre and 3000-litre copper pot/column hybrid vacuum stills for the production of gin. The stills are thought to be one of a kind and can eliminate the damaging impact of heat on botanicals.
“When we started designing this distillery, we had the opportunity to look at how we were distilling and what excited us with fresh eyes,” said 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.”
Furthermore, Archie Rose has begun working on the development of a molasses-based spirit. The distillery has built a research lab onsite, which allows desktop fermentations, distillations and sensory analysis to be carried out with extreme precision. The R&D centre will be used to ‘push the boundaries’ of traditional rum making and improve the site’s whisky, gin and vodka.
“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,” said master distiller Dave Withers.
“This distillery is so brimming with flexibility and ground-breaking innovation it is as if we 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. 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 horizons as to what great modern Australian distilling can be.”
The new site also features a number of energy efficient measures, including the reduction of power, gas and water usage by more than 30%. All spent grain, botanicals and pot ale are recycled into livestock feed or natural fertiliser.
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Author: Nicola Carruthers