A BOUTIQUE gin distillery will open in Fremantle’s West End.
The Republic of Fremantle will produce craft gin from a Pakenham Street warehouse, using “botanicals” like backyard rosemary, fennel and WA sandalwood, which are suited to Perth’s climate.
Fremantle locals Jason Townes, Matt Giudice and John McVeigh hope their new venture will tap into “gin tourism” and the worldwide boom in boutique gin.
Townes and Giudice have invested in the Fremantle hospitality scene for years and have stakes in Bread in Common, Strange Company and Ronnie Nights.
Mr Townes says the company’s name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to Freo folk thinking they’re different from the rest of WA. “We don’t feel like we’re a suburb of Perth; we feel like we’re the City of Fremantle,” he says.
The Republic of Fremantle will have a bar, restaurant and hold gin-making workshops.
“Our focus is creating a place that’s relevant to Fremantle people on an everyday basis—creating a place where we like to go,” Mr Townes says.
“But we’re firmly of the mind that this is great for visitors to Fremantle too.”
Mr Townes doesn’t think that Fremantle has too many bars and recalls walking down High Street when it was laden with drinking holes.
“We’re not getting back to where we were 20 years ago,” he says.
“People don’t have to trust us—they just have to look at what we’ve done previously.”
by ALICE ANGELONI