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Member of the Month: Poor Toms

14 Oct 2023 8:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Started in 2015 by Jesse and Griffin at the tender age of 24, Poor Toms was born kicking and screaming into the urban light-industrial chaos of Sydney's Marrickville. Since that time Marrickville has grown to become one of the premier destinations for craft alcohol in the country, with 5 distillers and 9 breweries in the suburb.

During that time Poor Toms has grown alongside it, first opening a tasting space in 2017 then obtaining a second warehouse on the same street in 2018 for blending, bottling and storage.

In 2021 Poor Toms began work on a brand new state-of-the-art facility, 5 minutes away from where they started all those years ago. The new facility will be 1000sqm, contain a 300-person capacity bar and have a restaurant onsite. Its purpose built design allows for maximum consumer engagement while also complying with all relevant safety standards.

Here's Jesse, Owner and Director of Poor Toms to talk more about the project ...

Give us an overview of the facilities

Our new site will be located behind the Factory Theatre in Marrickville, it used to be an old foundry but sat unused for years until the owners got in touch with us asking if we would be interested in the space. The development also houses Messina Gelatos and Heaps Normal Brewery new headquarters. The site will be a 1000sqm building split in two, one end production the other a 300-seater cocktail bar. We've also built a kitchen, a 'lab' to provide a space for RnD and masterclasses, and an outdoor Gin Garden.

What's involved in a project like this?

These kinds of projects are always so much bigger than you expect them to be - we had significant delays due to covid, la nina rains and raw materials availability so being flexible with planning became very important. The largest amount of work is definitely corralling the sheer amount of consultants needed for a project like this, from architects, designers, structural, electrical and fire engineers. The DA is also obviously a very important and challenging aspect, things like acoustic reports, odour reports, dangerous good reports, soil testing, environmental impact assessments etc. can all be time consuming and expensive but it's good to know that no stone is left unturned when it comes time to move.

Can you give us a rundown on the safety features

Safety was a top priority for us in the design of the new production area. Being able to build something from the ground up and design it ourselves is every distiller's dream. We've taken the lessons learnt from the previous 8 years and applied this knowledge to our build. Things like in-slab ethanol piping, and an in-slab bunded tank farm means we can operate much more safely and much more efficiently. Things such as firewalls, sprinkler systems, ethanol venting and detection systems, ex lighting and electrical fittings are also a lot more easy to incorporate into a build rather than grandfather them in.

When's the move in date?

Production and office staff will be in late this year and the bar/kitchen open to the public early next year

What's your take away from this whole experience?

Always plan for the unplanned, things will, and do come out of the blue and you have to be able to roll with the punches.

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Australian Distillers Association

Suite 1601, 447 Kent Street, 
Sydney, NSW, 2000

ABN 77 622 845 275

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