October 16, 2020
Often referred to as labours of love, craft distilleries work hard to capture the precise essences of fruits and grain ensuring the right nuanced styles and flavours are created, but always with equal parts of passion. This is truly the case for Philip Crossley and Alex Hardie, founders of Mobius Distilling Co. in Marrickville, NSW.
With beginnings like many other craft distillers, from an outgrowth of craft brewing, Phillip began his passion in a shed at home, 15 years ago, as a home brewer of beer. Perfecting his passions was a global journey of love, where the “fraternity” of brewers were all too happy to share and learn from each other.
His experiences grew into understanding the technical aspects of brewing, creating spirits, judging then even writing what is the “play book” for the efficient use of equipment as well as second book on how to make gin, that is now the go to manual for the American Distilling Institute.
Fast forward to 2016, Philip and Alex met through a mutual passion for craft distilling, and Mobius Distilling Co.was born.
Like most true entrepreneurs both continued their day jobs in IT and hospitality while perfecting their ideas, developing recipes, and sourcing the right ingredients. Then, of course, the more business side necessities needed to be considered, procurement of equipment, packaging, and then when ready affordable rent.
Their experiences in the corporate world also meant they knew they needed to establish strong supply chains early on. Every bar needs vodka, their first product was 38 Special, which very quickly generated the income to expand beyond the backyard.
QUALITY, CREATIVITY AND STREAMLINED PROCESSES = SUCCESS
Having established themselves in a 26.5 square meter location in an old soap factory, success in vodka sales came quickly. Although the space was limited, the duo delivered as many as 60 cases of their award winning vodka per month to their distribution channels. But when your production methods are so efficient that you can produce capacities believed beyond your square meterage, guess who comes knocking!
After being deemed an above normal productive, efficient and a well-managed distillery, Philip and Alex realised that the soap factory was not suitable for their future. They needed to move to a larger space if they were going to expand to what Philip felt was to be their signature beverage and their move to Marrickville was set.
Apple Pie in a Glass – Moreau Apple Pie Liqueur
In the US Appalachians apple moonshine has been around since the early 1900s. Philip as a purveyor of knowledge, looked at this process and started to experiment with the ratios and characteristics of what he felt would make a liqueur that would be more than a whiskey, but an intoxicating spirit that would entice all ones senses.
Having what he felt was the right combination of spice, apples and age Philip and Alex knew that they needed to road-test their creation before making any strong plans to go to market. To do that, they went to Indy Spirits Tasting, where hospitality trade and consumers attended, to gain impartial real world feedback. Immediately they knew they were on to something and plans began to introduce their product to the market.
The catastrophe called Covid-19
When 95% of your business is via hospitality channels, something like Covid-19 is devasting. But like many others business rolling over was not an option, adapting and adjusting needed to happen fast and quick. First step, set up ecommerce.
Covid-19 hit Mobius hard, expansion plans ceased, but their phone kept ringing. This time it was hospitals, utilities and other authorities asking how quickly they could adapt the World Health Organisation hand sanitizer recipe to their process and produce what is needed for Australians.
Let the work begin. And like any new product development, Philip and Alex began locating the packaging, setting up the process and creating the product, but then enter the red tape; the bureaucracy known as the Therapeutic Goods Administration. By the time HY-GIN-IC was approved, the big end of town had flooded the market. Bureaucracy at its finest!
WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS, AN AUSSIE BUSINESS BATTLES ON.
E-commerce has seen sales slowing increase not to pre-Covid-19 levels, but now the hospitality industry is starting to open back up, things are progressing in the right direction.
Covid-19 has seen Philip and Alex address the housekeeping that was otherwise being delayed. Branding, logos, photos and social media, all the main marketing that is needed to engage the customer. The good news is now when you shop online, all products are available and ready for purchase.
In response to friends and supporters, who have been asking for a locally made gin with a solid taste profile, 2204 Marrickville Gin has been made available in a limited run. With its easy drinking, London dry style it is perfect for a nice G&T-on-the-verandah, getting us through what is set to be an unconventional summer. 2204 is available on the web-shop only.
What’s next in production? The duo has just laid down their first casks of whisky and brandy, with vermouth set to go into production very soon. Of course this is just a start, there is a recipe book that is in development as well. The ultimate plan is a tasting area where visitors can experience and enjoy the true heart, quality and passion that goes into these products.
After all, good spirits are meant to be shared.