Poor Toms General Manager introduces on-premise only spirits

In February, Sydney distillery Poor Toms released a duo of spirits under the name ‘First Pour’: a gin and a vodka. 

These new products are aimed specifically at the speed rail of Australian bartenders, and distillery General Manager, Gemma Duff, explained why Poor Toms had taken this approach. 

“I think we’d seen a gap in the market for affordable Australian spirits that could work in the rail as a first house pour kind of product,” Gemma says. 

“We wanted to produce products that would work as an all-rounder, for all styles of drinks.”

Gemma told Bars & Clubs that the distillery’s ‘innovation group’ worked on the First Pour range’s development and route to market for around 15 months. The process included partnering with the on-premise, as Gemma explains. 

“[We] worked with quite a few bartenders to make sure the product was kind of working for them as well.”

The vodka and gin are made with a pure wheat spirit, distilled in-house by Poor Toms. 

“We wanted it to have that sort of velvety, slip into the abyss, kind of thing… We hadn’t found a lot of other Australian vodkas that had the mouthfeel that we were looking for,” Gemma adds. 

“Our First Pour gin is still the core base of our Sydney dry, which includes strawberry gum and green apples as what makes our products contemporary – citrus, light and bite, but still with quite a lot of depth.

“So we have that same base, a little less green apple, a little less citrus, a bit heavier on the juniper to make it a better all rounder and make it work for G&Ts, no matter what tonic you put it with.”

The First Pour spirits will be distributed by SouthTrade International, but will not be available in the off-premise. 

“We think that these products really work for an over the bar kind of fast service producing a really quality spirit. We don’t see it as a retail play at all. We built it for bartender to be able to used, and then we would rather our consumers experience the Australian core product of Sydney Dry Gin in their homes,” the GM says. 

Nevertheless, for bartenders and operators to access the best pricing for these new products, there is a stipulations that bars also carry Poor Toms’ more premium products on their backbars. 

The goal is to have these spirits poured in 500 bars nationally, with Gemma hoping this will broaden the brand’s recognition and help to boost the sales of the premium core range. 

Additionally, Gemma believes the range will help Poor Toms to “be talking to more bars about Australian spirits and hopefully talking to consumers about Australian spirits.

“We think if more of them get to experience it, then more of them will purchase, across the whole Australian craft industry.” 

This release follows the Fundamental Spirits series, a similar range from Archie Rose Distilling Co., and ultimately, Gemma believes that it’s crucial that Australian producers are present at every price point on the pyramid and in the on-premise. 

“We have to create innovative ways to be creative in our pricing, to stay competitive against those international brands. Those international brands are so large, that they can take those excise hits,” she comments. 

“As a growing industry in Australia, we just don’t have that opportunity. But if we can sort of come up with creative ways to do that, to play in different price brackets, then consumers can get to experience it no matter what their pricing needs are. 

“I think it’s really important that we try to play in different areas, and of course, educate everyone about what the market is really like for people and why Australian spirits are more expensive.”

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