Remember this date. July 20, 2015. This is the day that Poor Toms Sydney Dry Gin hit the market. There was no fancy advertising campaign. Just a couple of young guys hitting the streets, knocking on doors to offer a taste of their excellent craft gin and walking out with solid wholesale orders from serious bar and restaurant operators.
Interestingly, on this first day, Canberra actually got first dibs over Sydney. You see, Poor Toms may be distilled in Marrickville in Sydney’s inner west, but its owners are Canberra boys through and through. And just to prove a point, they have decided to offer this Sydney gin to the Canberra market first.
In just their first day, they have managed to get Poor Toms onto the shelves of Eightysix, Parlour Wine Room, Elk & Pea, and the Cocu group of restaurants and bars which include Shorty’s, Public, Edgars, Little Brooklyn, Sub Urban, Academy and Mr. Wolf amongst others.
Poor Toms owners are good mates Griffin Thomas Blumer and Jesse Thomas Kennedy (pictured left and right respectively). Both grew up in Canberra but moved to Sydney three years ago. Both love a good drop of gin, and over the last couple of years, they have been experimenting and distilling the spirit at home.
They recently invested all of their savings into the purchase of a 200 litre German made copper still and have managed to turn their hobby into a fully fledged business with a quality product now ready to go to market. To take their business to the next stage and to get the drink bottled, the pair have raised a staggering 70,000 dollars on crowdfunding website Pozible, much of it from Canberra friends and relatives who are just starting to receive their deliveries of Poor Toms first few batches for their support.
“We knew that Canberra would be a great place to start. Growing up here, we knew that the Canberra consumer has a fairly sophisticated outlook and that it’s really come a long way recently,” says Blumer. “Our hunch was to come back home. There was a lot of interest here for our Pozible campaign.”
The Canberra connection has also played its part in the packaging and marketing of the product, with former Canberra friends pitching in. Amy Donaldson has come up with the design of the label and website, and Dominic Lorrimer has done some great video and photographic work on the Poor Toms website.
Poor Toms is just one of a number of new craft gins to hit the market in recent times. I asked the pair about this growing movement. “Gin gives an infinite possibility of flavours,” says Kennedy. “You can really leave your mark on gin. You can experiment and throw all these great ingredients at it. If it works, then you have a bottled product. There’s an element of immediate expression of flavour that our short attention spans are attracted to.”
This particular gin starts with a classic juniper base. Fresh green apples are aided with chamomile and native aromatics strawberry gum and lemon myrtle to add a fruity citrus note. Coriander, cinnamon and cardamon give a peppery and grassy finish. The boys say it is at its best when served with strawberry, as it complements the fruitiness perfectly.
For those wanting to give it a try, it should be available within the next few days at the bars mentioned, and no doubt in a few more Canberra establishments over the next couple of weeks. And if you’re in Sydney, I’m sure you’ll have it soon. After all, what’s a Sydney bar without a good Sydney Dry Gin.