The All New Gin Journey Sydney

It’s August ‘23 and there’s a new distillery in town, Ester Spirits Distillery, Marrickville, Sydney to be precise.

I went fishing for an invite to their opening party. Luckily our wonderful industry is super supportive, and a member of one of the other local distilleries, shout out Sean at Poor Toms, hooked me up.

What went ahead was a beautiful evening of food and drink, meeting new people and enjoying this incredible space. What came with that was a lightbulb moment. Perhaps I could convert our Gin Journey Sydney into a tour which focuses on the Inner West, maybe I could even drop the bus. Oh imagine the possibilities. The question was posed to the Ester crew, and what came back was a positive answer. I love hospitality people.

I then heard there was another distillery opening up round the corner within a month, the lovely Unexpected Guest, a crew that I’d worked with before, notorious for the still they have  on the back of an orange VW Kombi that drives around Sydney.

It was the perfect storm for me to develop the first ever walking tour for Gin Journey in ten years of operating. The first walking tour went down on the 6th of October '23 and we haven’t looked back. On the tour in question we had some unreal visitors from NZ on the Journey, they exclaimed that they loved the walking element, and that ladies and gentlemen, was good enough for me.

We start up in Newtown, Sydney’s heartbeat of independent restaurants, bars and music venues and also the home of the first brewery to be opened in the area, Young Henrys, luckily for a Sydney based gin tour they also make a delicious gin. The legends at Young Henrys have always been supportive of what we do. Young Henrys Noble Cut Gin and Young Henrys Alcoholic Ginger Beers are served and the day is off to a flyer.

It’s a 20 min stroll down the hill where to roll up at stop two, Poor Toms Gin Hall, the OGS of the Gin Journey Sydney and the OGS of distilling in Marrickville. These guys kicked it all off in 2015, they’re still bending the rules on what you can do with a still with their incredible creations (Piña Colada Gin people), plus they have an ice cold air con system which hits just right when we show up on a sweltering Sydney Saturday.

A 5 min stroll round the corner, past Black Market Coffee and Two Providores and we arrive at the 60s inspired Unexpected Guest. Sip on a Disco Flamingo and some delicious cocktails and the group have big smiles on their boat races.

Our final walk is round past the Bowlo, we wave at the Bob Hawke's and Philter Breweries and saunter along to Ester Spirits, we’re greeted with an assiette of cocktails and the ruby red decor makes me feel like we’re sat in the middle of a Negroni, not mad about it. Felix, if around, wades in with some extra passionate chat as the cherry on top.

I’ll be straight up here, I love this tour. I think we’ve brought something fresh to Sydney. It’s incredible to focus on such a diverse and interesting area and NOT JUST THAT we’ve been able to bring the price down for our guests. $89pp for an early bird and $99 if you don’t grab one of the first 10 tickets. We can now host smaller tours for a profit and run more exclusive hires for private tours. It’s a win win for all and long may it continue.

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Author, Leon Dalloway, Founder of Gin Journey