East London Liquor Company brings distillery back to Bow Wharf
FOOD & DRINK
If someone says they don't like gin it's because they haven't tried the right one," says Alex Wolpert, standing in the urban chic of his distillery-come-bar. "That's really how varied gin can be."
The Hackney man speaks with a combination of passion, knowledge and experience and will soon be serving an array of infusions to his new east London clientele.
After heading up drinking holes for Bar Works, he teamed up with expert distiller Jamie Baxter to found The East London Liquor Company.
Its bar, also housed on the Bow Wharf site off Grove Road, opened last week. The pair of copper stills that dominate the space will start to create vodka, whisky and three types of gin in a few weeks' time.
The vodka will be double-distilled within the huge tank while botanicals will be contained in its sister tank where the gin will be made. Bottling and labelling will also eventually take place on site.
Despite the traditional technique, shiny equipment and complex process, 32-year-old Alex says all he's really interested in is his clientele enjoying the product.
"I am sure we will get tourists, locals and gin enthusiasts," he said. "But I also hope we will get people who just appreciate a good drink.
"The purpose of this bar is to show people what you can do with gin.
"If someone comes to the bar, orders a drink and then has a big smile after they've drunk it, then we are happy.
"We just want to do things right and we are not shouting about it, we're just getting on and doing it."
Those interested in the company's London Dry Gin and the two gin infusions Batch One - a mix of Darjeeling tea and grapefruit and Batch Two - packed with herbs - have a short while to wait.
In the meantime there's a host of treats on the drinks list including cocktails, as well as syrups and liquor for coffee, all made on site.
There is a rotating selection of draught and bottled craft beers for those who prefer something less aggressive as well as cured meats and cheeses for the peckish.
Although his business is new, Alex maintains the East London Liquor Company owes something to the area's tradition.
"It's mirroring history," he says. "The whole of this area was full of distilleries 100 to 200 years ago. There isn't anyone distilling gin here now, so it's almost like a revival of the industry.
"Distilling has been a victim of red tape in recent history but that has been relaxed during the past few years.
"We're probably a decade behind America in terms of distilling but it still shows there's enthusiasm for this level of craftsmanship."
Go to eastlondonliquorcompany.com.