Archie Rose has won awards galore, and today is both a distillery and a warmly welcoming bar. SMWS ambassador Matt Bailey paid a visit

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Australia’s whisky appreciation and good drinking culture is something I still consider to be in its infancy in many ways. A vast and hot continent with a rum background and up until relatively recently, no distilleries in Sydney to speak of. Rewind to just 2014 and Will Edwards’ vision to build a unique distillery just a few kilometres south of the city was music to my ears. In that short time, Archie Rose already has the crown for being the most awarded distillery in Australia.

Archie Rose is the most awarded distillery in Australia.

The first thing you see when approaching the distillery however is that it feels as much at home as a distillery as it does a warm and inviting bar. A place where their gins, vodka, whisky and rum can be distilled, matured, then enjoyed in the same venue is something to admire. Combine that with their belief that spirits are best shared, they are an ideal partner bar for the Society, which is all about sharing great spirits with members. The warm and inviting space is open every day of the week and has one of the most generous Society member benefits, with 20 per cent off all drinks by producing your membership card.

The first thing that struck me as I walked into Archie Rose for the first time was the amazing level of detail for a new bar. From the thick wooden booth tables to the custom light fittings to the solid copper bar top, you know as soon as you step inside you’re in for a treat. Not content with just serving their own product either, the back bar and Society selection at Archie Rose is a marvel of carefully selected spirits from Jonathan Liu, Harriet Leigh, and master distiller Dave Withers, from local gins, exotic rums, atypical armagnacs and rare whiskies.


Will Edwards, founder of Archie Rose Distilling Co.

Archie Rose Distilling Co. founder, Will Edwards, grew up in Sydney, with family roots in rural New South Wales. He had a passion for spirits and the diversity and character of the raw ingredients behind them from a young age, which led to many trips to the few Australian distillers operating at the time, and a handful of oak casks maturing an eclectic collection of distillates room during his university days. After a short spell working in the corporate world, Will decided to leave in 2013. He travelled to the urban and craft distilleries of New York, London and Tasmania, kick-starting the journey to opening Archie Rose as one of Sydney’s first independent distilleries in more than 160 years.

Archie Rose is named after a pseudonym used by a 19th century Sydney bootlegger.

In late 2014 Archie Rose Distilling Co. began producing gin, vodka and whisky in Rosebery, Sydney – just five kilometres from the city – with the aim of re-igniting Australia’s rich history in distilling, opening its doors to the public in March 2015. Driven by innovation, quality, education and authenticity and using traditional and experimental malts, grains and botanicals, Archie Rose now produces a unique range of whiskies, gins, vodka and rum with Archie Rose’s first aged whiskies due to launch in the second half of 2019.


Society members receive 20 per cent off all drinks when they produce their membership card.

It’s an immense source of pride for us to be partnered with one of the most compelling and unusual whisky clubs in the world,” says Will. “We get access to a phenomenal range of spirit – all with unique stories and flavour profiles, which in turn we have immense pride in presenting to our patrons.

We’ve co-hosted some of the most interesting and in-depth whisky tastings with you, and when you, SMWS cellarmaster Andrew Derbidge and our master distiller Dave Withers present a tasting together, the room falls into an awe-like trance. We’ve tasted our WIP whisky together, we’ve co-hosted SMWS blending classes (the sacrilege!), and we’ve put on some world class pop-ups exclusively selling SMWS bottlings. We’re planning a raft of events this year, which we’re all very excited for, so it’s quite simply a very special marriage.”


Archie Rose is located at 85 Dunning Ave, Rosebery, NSW 2018, about five minutes from Sydney Airport. Call +61 2 8458 2300 or visit

Archie Rose is one of 10 SMWS partner bars in Australia and more than 100 around the world where members are guaranteed a warm welcome and often a discounted price on SMWS drams when you produces your membership card. Search ‘partner bars’ at