New craft rum distillery and bar opens in Sydney’s Surry Hills

21 August, 2018 by Tam Allenby

Brix Distillers, a craft rum distillery and bar, has opened in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Surry Hills.

While craft gin and whisky have been stealing headlines of late, three rum aficionados, old friends and now Brix co-founders – Damien Barrow, James Christopher and Siddarth Soin – have set out with the mission of shifting attitudes towards the spirit.

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Brix is a fully operational distillery and rum ageing facility, featuring a 1200-litre copper still. Overseen by head distiller Shane Casey (ex-Archie Rose), the distillery has launched with a core range of three: Brix White, Gold and Spiced. For now, they’re only available on-site – with further rum styles and availability to come.

“Rum has such a rich but often misunderstood history and we want to celebrate that through re-education, all the way through to appreciation,” says Barrow. “We want people to come into Brix and learn about the versatility of rum, how it’s made and the nuances of the different styles and flavour profiles.”

On the bar side of the equation, more than 150 rums from around Australia and the world supplement Brix’s own rum offering, with a selection of Australian wine, local craft beer and spirits also available.

The extensive cocktail list, curated by bar manager Doug Laming (pictured above) includes all the favourite rum-based classics as well as house signatures like the Brix & Mortar (Brix Gold, Bulleit Rye, cane syrup, orange bitters, orange twist) and Pash The Distiller (Brix Gold, pineapple & strawberry tepache, rhubarb bitters, lime, mint), each made using the appropriate Brix rum. There’s also a sugar cane press on hand to keep things fresh.

Adding to the experience, a ‘rum trolley’ will roam the bar every night on the hour, offering guests the opportunity to sample and get up close and personal with a Brix rum guru.

The casual dining menu – by Colombian chef Ivan Sanchez (ex-Bodega and Porteno) – draws on South American flavours designed to highlight the character and personality of rum. Dishes range from crispy tostadas topped with ceviche and pink grapefruit to crunchy plantain chips with fire-roasted mojo picante.

The space itself has been designed by award-winning interior design firm Amber Road, and integrates the production side of the distillery into the hospitality space. Raw concrete and muted greys are complemented by pops of colour from the copper still, the back bar lined with hundreds of bottles of rum, lush planter boxes, and wall art by local street artist Nico Nicoson.

With distillery tours, craft rum masterclasses, and a ‘buy-and-help-craft-your-own-Brix-rum-barrel program’ soon to come, the three boys at Brix have certainly come out with all guns blazing.