The story behind Poor Toms [Update]

The story behind Poor Toms [Update]
May 3, 2021 Gin Lane

2021 Update

Sydney distillery Poor Toms has been a firm favourite of ours from our earliest days. We originally met Jesse and Griff when they were just starting out themselves, having successfully done a crowd funding campaign to launch the distillery. Gin Lane was an idea in the making and we couldn’t go past this brand new distillery on our doorstep.

Over the past few years, we’ve happily watched Poor Toms go from strength to strength. They’ve established their gin hall in the heart of the Marrickville craft brewing scene. New products have been released on a regular basis and they’ve maintained their laid back quirky style, all while making inroads on the national and international gin market.

Production is scaling up with the commissioning of a new still from German makers Muller. This will allow the team to more efficiently produce their core range, along with some of their more limited releases.

It’s this experimentation with new flavours and products that has us excited for Poor Toms future. If you were lucky enough to have laid your hands on a bottle last year of their ‘Pina Colada’ gin, you may have been unsure what to think on first tasting. The name conjured visions of bold coconut and pineapple flavours, tall cocktails and sitting on pristine white sands underneath cooling palm trees.

The reality was something far more subtle and in our opinion clever. The flavours were treated delicately, the outcome was something beautifully balanced and delicious. Each time you took a sip, there were more hints of those botanicals coming through in unexpected ways.

The strawberry gin is a quintessential Poor Toms release and while not entirely unknown, you may well have passed it in while browsing your local bottle shop, it fully deserves a good look which is why we’ve selected it for our gin of the month.

Enjoy and read on in our how to drink article for more details. You can also read on below for our original story behind Poor Toms article, from back in 2016.

2016 Original Article

We met Griff and Jesse in our very early days setting up Gin Lane. We were fortunate to try their dry gin, standing beside their beautiful german copper still Jane and smelling the fantastic vapours coming from it.

A couple of Canberrans originally, Jesse was deep in the banking world, while Griff was employing his skills as an actor before the idea for Poor Toms eventuated.

The idea fermented (or distilled) while they were playing with a small 2 litre still in their share house in Sydney’s inner west. With the beginnings of a successful Australian gin industry becoming obvious, no representation in Sydney, they asked themselves the obvious question; why not a Sydney dry gin and why not them?

From there Griff and Jesse set off down the path of launching their distillery in Marrickville, Sydney. With little experience developing a gin or commercialising it, the guys faced a long road of experimentation to bring a gin to market. It was around this time that the third major pillar of Poor Toms came along in the form of Marcel Thompson.

Marcel Thompson a 28 year industry veteran who, among others, has worked with Gordon’s, Tanqueray and United Distillers NZ, brought them the expertise they desperately needed. After separately distilling 106 ingredients, they began to work on a recipe that would delivery them something different to the standard dry gins available.
Landing on their final recipe was only the first hurdle. Having invested the majority of their combined savings in getting this far, they then needed to generate cash to distill their first batch.

Griff and Jesse decided to raise funds through a Pozible crowd funding campaign. They not only wildly exceeded their own expectations, raising $25,000 in the first day alone (enough for their first batch), they more than tripled their goal by the end of the campaign!

The rest as they say is history…or is it? Not at all, Griff and Jesse have hardly been standing still. As the only 2 full time workers at Poor Toms, they are flat out most days knocking out this fantastic gin. Anytime we visit them at the distillery it’s very much a chat while they work situation.

Somehow in between this, they’ve found the time to release their second gin, Poor Toms Fool Strength. Only released this month, we’re more than excited to be bringing our members one of the newest craft Australian gins!



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