The Downtime Agenda

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  • Images — Marnie Hawson

Will Edwards — the man behind the popular Archie Rose Distillery and bar, finds comfort in consistency, music and a quiet drink.

Will Edwards, distilled.

What do you do to unwind?
I love going for a long walk and just listening to some music. A drive works too as long as you are out of the city.

What strategies do you have in place to effectively manage stress?
I try to have a structured enough routine to make sure I get enough sleep. I find sleep is probably the most important thing when your days are jam packed and often stressful.

What inspired you to launch Archie Rose?
I always had a passion for spirits. I used to do a bit of homebrew, make some pretty terrible spirit based infusions and play around with oak maturation, but it remained a hobby and I went down a fairly standard corporate path for a few years.

In 2013 though I reached a point where I knew I was not doing what I wanted to be doing, and the distillery idea was constantly in the back of my mind. I took some annual leave and headed to NYC for a break and to check out some of the first distilleries since prohibition that had popped up in Brooklyn and the surrounding areas. After seeing their setups and hearing their stories, I just couldn’t figure out why no one had started up a distillery in the City of Sydney in recent years. Like NYC, we have a unique history of distillation, amazing craft brewers, an incredible bar scene and people who are genuinely interested in where their food and drinks come from and how they are created.

When I returned to Sydney, I knew that there must have been a few people that had considered starting a distillery, but none had eventuated and survived. In my mind there had to be a reason that I didn’t know of as to why you couldn’t start (or successfully operate) a distillery in Sydney. I thought that if I did the research and found that reason, then I could put the idea to bed and get on with other things. I spent six months working on finding the reason, but never found anything I considered an absolute roadblock, so it was then I committed to starting Archie Rose.

What can Archie Rose offer people in their downtime?
Anything from a quiet drink at the end of the day to full on, get-your-hands-dirty gin making classes. We try to let people get as involved as they want in the spirit making process.

Do you have any daily rituals?
I try to keep my mornings consistent. Wake up > shower > head to work (I’ve never been a big breakfast person) > coffee > check emails and social media > chat to the distilling team and then into quiet work until 11am. After 11am it can be a mixture of anything and everything, but I try to start each day the same way.

What are you reading right now?
I prefer to read news and current affairs, particularly science and tech developments, but I have been trying to read A Moveable Feast by Hemingway for about a year (a pitiful effort for a pretty simple book). My brother gave it to me over a year ago so I really need to just get stuck in.

Music on your downtime playlist?
Really a bit of everything. Bon Iver, Of Monsters & Men, Jose Gonzalez, but I’m also pretty partial to a bit of Kendrick and Drake.

Favourite travel destination for relaxation?
Queenstown, NZ

Downtime drink of choice?
It depends on the day/time/mood but probably a local IPA and/or a big Single Malt or Rye whisky.

Describe your ideal Sunday.
Early to the beach for a swim, a long lunch and then an afternoon nap.