Sydney based Mobius Distilling Co is one of a few distilleries we can genuinely say we’ve been in touch with since day one.
It was a busy, noisy Indie Spirits event in Sydney we first met, Alex Hardie and Philip Crossley. After enjoying their tasty work in progress, we made a mental note to keep a close eye on the newcomers.
Now the thing we love about this industry is the ingenuity many distillers show when working to get their projects off the ground.
Just a few years ago, Mobius’ distillery was quite possibly the smallest in the country. Taking up just 26.5sqm of the former bathroom of an Inner West warehouse in Leichhardt. Now, with the success of their award-winning Moreau Apple Pie Liqueur and 38 Special Vodka, they’ve secured a much bigger space in Marrickville.
Their new distillery boasts a whopping 450sqm in comparison. As Alex and Philip reveal, the secret to good gin rests, not in the space, but in ‘The Company You Keep.’
With a solid background in brewing, like many in the industry, Alex wanted to move on to the harder stuff and do his own thing.
“Whiskey and the whole distilling process was something I’d been getting interested in more and more since first visiting Tasmania 15 years ago with all the great distilleries there,” says Alex. “I then asked the brewer I was working with at the time about where I would start if I wanted to get into distilling myself.”
Still Dragon was the name of the still supplier the brewer recommended Alex get in touch with. Not long after he found himself making the 5-hour train journey to Tamworth, the home of the supplier’s Australian division.
“So, I went up there and got to hang out with a lot of crazy people, looking at stainless steel and sampling all the great stuff coming out of the still and just fell in love really,” says Alex.
The romance – or rather bromance – continued back in Sydney when Alex met up with Philip Crossley. The local distiller had been recommended to Alex by the Tamworth team, and after meeting for a drink and hitting it off, the pair decided to get to work.
Back in their ‘bathroom’ based distillery in Leichhardt, Phil found the flexibility of the Still Dragon’s modular make-up, and his experience in backyard engineering, helped combat the confined space.
“Phil’s techniques are a little out there so being able to pull the still apart and reconfigure it depending on the different spirit we were trying to make at the time – be it vodka, whiskey, or liqueur – allowed us to be really flexible and try different stuff in that space,” says Alex.
It allowed them to pump out a surprising volume – so much so in fact, that even the Australian Tax Office paid a visit.
“The ATO came around because they thought we had to be a front for something illegal. They just couldn’t believe we were producing that much in such a small area.”
A Solid Start
Like Alex, Phil’s start came from brewing. He also developed a passion for gin over the years, concocting recipes and writing published papers about its production using equipment he’d built in his backyard. It wasn’t however the spirit Mobius chose to release first.
“We decided to tackle the hard part first and put out an Australian first pour vodka. Most of the vodkas on the market were multinational imports or produced in Australia for a premium price,” says Phil. “Every bar needs vodka so we thought we’d get our foot in the door then go on to other products.”
It seemed a smart business decision with the current market flooded with gin. In addition to vodka, Mobius went on to produce a product we’ve happily spruiked before, Moreau Apple Pie Liqueur.
This tasty drop has won them a string of national and international awards, including the Gold Medal at both the Australian Distilled Spirit Awards 2020 and the London Spirits Competition 2020.
‘But what about the gin?’ we hear you saying.
Now Phil Crossley loves his gin (both making and drinking it) so it was important to him that Mobius come up with something special.
“As much as we love gin, we felt that the market was quite saturated. With all these new types of botanicals and variations out there we really wanted to get back to what we feel makes a really solid tasting gin,” says Phil. Just how they did that is something you can read in our How to Drink article here.
With this in mind, Mobius produced 2204 Marrickville Dry Gin – a classic London dry, true to traditional style with juniper, citrus highlights and spicy notes. Following on from this cellar-door only release, is something we’ve been waiting for from the start – Mobius’ introduction to the commercial gin market.
The Company You Keep has only just been released but thanks to our close contact, we’ve managed to secure batch number 1! This month we’re delighted to be offering it to you as our Gin of the Month.