Sad news, Perth spirit lovers: Hippocampus Metropolitan Distillery, one of the city’s urban distillers, is moving to Melbourne. On July 1, Hippocampus will join corporate stablemate Boatrocker Brewers in a new entity, Boatrocker Brewers & Distillers. As part of the merger, Hippocampus’s distinct copper still (affectionately nicknamed “Kylie”) will be relocated to the Victorian capital.
Hippocampus head distiller Lex Poulsen says the decision to merge was a commercial one and inspired by collaboration discussions between the two brands.
“Made by Hand Group owns Hippocampus and has quite a large stake in Boatrocker,” says Poulsen. “It made more sense in their minds to put the two together under one physical roof.”
Boatrocker has one of Australia’s leading barrel-aged beer programs, and the Hippocampus still will be installed in Boatrocker’s barrel room. As well as managing the move of the still, Poulsen will permanently relocate to Braeside to become part of the new team.
“I will be working as a brewer and training their team in distilling,” says Poulsen. “It means more hands on deck, and we can get more product out there.”
The logistics of the move are still being worked out, although a break in production will be unavoidable. Hippocampus fans need not panic: stock is being held in reserve to keep punters refreshed during the downtime.
While both brands are to be retained under the merger, the future of Hippocampus’s West Perth venue is still up in the air.
“The idea is to maintain it as some kind of base for Hippocampus and Boatrocker in WA,” says Poulsen. “What that is going to look like we’re not sure yet. The focus right now is to get the distillery moved and set up.”
Hippocampus Metropolitan Distillery is at 19 Gordon Street, West Perth. The distillery is open 1pm-9pm on Fridays for drinks and tours. Poulsen will also be discussing Perth's distilling scene at the WA Food and Drink Symposium at the end of the month.