Whipper Snapper Distillery in East Perth combines two of my great loves — quality coffee and quality alcohol. The Distillery came about as the result of a long term passion for both Alasdair Malloch and Jimmy McKeown and has been five years in the planning. It has always been about the product and they firmly believe that if you love your job, you will never work another day in your life! I like to follow this philosophy as well, so I instantly bonded with these humble men who have started from scratch, raising the funds to start living their dreams with the help of Tommy Cooper.
Tommy put his retirement on hold to teach the boys how to make whiskey and to help refine a recipe unique to Whipper Snapper. It’s a beautiful, romantic story of Australian camaraderie which lies at the core of this product. As a student, Alasdair made friends with his neighbour, Veteran Vic who flew Lancaster bombers during the Second World War. From Vic, he learned the backyard shed moonshine and whiskey recipes which are now being shared with Perth in Australia’s first urban, bourbon-style whiskey distillery.
Whipper Snapper really is the story of small Australian underdogs taking on the big Scottish and American distillers and showing that Australia can make great whiskey too.
To help them with this project, they have brought in Master Distiller Frank McHardy to refine their single malt recipe. Frank has over 50 years’ experience with the big guys including time at both the notable Scottish Springbank and the Northern Irish Bushman’s distilleries. Whipper Snapper’s product takes a while to mature, so they have also begun producing moonshine which is an excellent base for cocktails. They will be releasing their prototype whiskey as soon as it ages in its American White oak barrels. The next step will then be to hone their single Malt recipe. All-local corn, wheat and barley are being used to create these bourbon-style products, which I can testify are delicious!
The venue in East Perth is a large, renovated warehouse which was mostly chosen for distillery purposes. With the help and support of the City of Perth, they obtained the necessary licences for the venture. The traditional copper steam-powered operation means it is all very steam punk in the warehouse. Whipper Snapper has already hosted some hugely successful events and with the cool warehouse setup, it is going to be in high demand as a venue.
Music, art exhibitions, charity dinners, whiskey tastings and appreciation sessions have all been sold out, as it’s proving to be a popular haunt for the cool kids in town and anyone who enjoys excellent quality coffee and whiskey.
Whipper Snapper is taking their coffee as seriously as their whiskey and their showroom is the place to get superb Five Senses coffee following their investment in a 3 group Synesso Sabre which is pumping out delicious Crompton Road with its dark fruit, coating body, plum and intense lingering aftertaste. They’re also offering a range of rotating single origins. With an excellent team of front of house staff, it’s a cool and relaxed way to get your daily coffee fix. Sweet treats adorn the bar and a centre front window makes it easy to stop by for a cheeky espresso. The inside is so beautifully constructed that Whipper Snapper is an excellent place to leave the city behind you, escape reality and learn a little about our war history.
Though they have grown organically so far, these guys are already a destination. Al and Jimmy are so passionate about what they are doing, it’s hard not to get swept up in the momentum. I would definitely recommend that you get there, taste a coffee, have a treat and book into one of their master classes. You won’t be disappointed!
Whipper Snapper Distillery
139 Kensington St.
East Perth, WA, 6004
Monday — Thursday 7:00am — 5:00pm
Friday — Sunday 7:00am — 6:00pm
© Photos provided with permission by Matt O’Donohue from Abstract Gourmet. All rights reserved by photographer