When Ferg’s opened last year, operator and winemaker Jordan Hein (of Moorak Wines) knew he’d add a distillery to his urban cellar door concept. His foray into the world of spirits began with a gin made in collaboration with Thebarton’s Imperial Measures Distilling.
Six months on, his full vision has materialised with the arrival of a shiny new 200-litre copper still. And it’s not the only new addition: Aidan Shaw, Luke Fleming and Steven Roennfeldt of small-batch gin label Threefold Distilling have moved in, too. The Stepney site is now the base for their brand new operation, which launched in December.
“We started from scratch, we know how hard it is,” says Hein. “So to be able to bring in another brand starting from scratch and support it is a really cool opportunity for everyone.”
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The trio are no industry novices though: Fleming is general manager at Paloma Bar and Pantry, Shaw is assistant manager at 2KW, and Roennfeldt, until recently, was the owner-operator of mobile bar service Steve the Bartender. Their new project started, unsurprisingly, over a few gins. And their backgrounds as bartenders and bar managers informed their first release under the Threefold label.
“Some [bartenders] are craft-beer geeks, some love their wine and all three of us love spirits,” says Shaw. “Generally, bartenders aspire to one day own a product or start a product and go out on their own,” adds Roennfeldt. “And I think all of us have been thinking that in the back of our minds throughout our careers in hospo.”
Fleming describes their Aromatic Gin as “straightforward” – a fresh, approachable drink that can be embraced by imbibers of all stripes. “We’ve made a gin that tastes like something you can recognise,” he says. “It’s a bit more relatable … for guests who are just looking for a cracking gin and tonic on a warm day.”
The summery gin comprises 11 botanicals, led by grapefruit, rosemary and lavender. “Grapefruit is nice, zippy and refreshing with tonic,” says Fleming. “Rosemary gives it a little savoury finish and lavender gives it this beautiful nose.”
“We’ve also used spices like native pepperberry, roasted wattleseed and pink pepper,” says Roennfeldt. “That sort of lengthens it on the palette, which creates a rounded gin, unlike ones that are just citrus and floral.”
The label, designed by Voice Design, reflects the contents inside with bright, vibrant images of citrus, rosemary and lavender. Find it on the back bar at 2KW, Paloma, Alfred’s Bar, Malt & Juniper, Clever Little Tailor, Cry Baby, Hains & Co – and, naturally, at Ferg’s.
Next on the agenda is a collaboration between Hein and Ferg’s co-owner Bevan Ferguson (of Massey Wines). They plan to produce a gin that’ll make the most of their winemaking credentials.
“We want to use the skins of the grapes or the juice – either pre-fermented or after fermentation – as a blend,” says Hein. “I’d love to introduce a really left-of-field style of beverage from what we have access to … It’s going to be fun to play around and experiment. The little by-products of what I do – say, the skins – I don't currently have other uses for, apart from giving them to farmers to spread through their crops for cows. So it will be good to re-use them to support something.”
He’s also looking forward to the immediacy of producing spirits. “[Wine production] has such a long time period – from growing [the grapes] to getting them off the vine and into the bottle,” says Hein. “So it’s a really long waiting game. I’m passionate about other styles of booze, so it’s cool to do these things on the side and put that passion into other things.
“I’d love to focus on amaros and vermouths … but they’ll be small production or really limited runs,” he adds. “I think that’ll really come from being here together. Over a few nights we’ll have a few gin and tonics, and we’ll come up with some good recipes for sure.”
Threefold Distilling will launch at Ferg’s on Saturday February 1 from 4pm, with Pan & Vine pizzas, DJs and more.