Wharf St. is the story of two families with a shared passion for quality spirits, a love of the Australian coast, and the dream to create extraordinary gin.
The Roche and Cooke family's paths crossed in their hometown of Forster, NSW. A builder, real estate agent, interior decorator, actor, and industrial designer coming together to make their dream a reality on the shores of Wallis Lake, Forster.
They designed and built a distillery, restaurant, and bar as HQ for the Wharf St. Distillery brand. Then, they got busy creating a range of gins that showcased the region and bottled the sweet, salty beach breeze that kissed everything.
Jesse Roche, once a builder, is now Head Distiller at Wharf St. His obsession with distilling was nurtured by a love of brewing. He knew he was destined to end up in the distilling business, so he set about (actually) building his dream from the ground up.
"When I distil spirits, I aim not to impress other distillers or conform to industry standards. Instead, I want to create spirits that burst with flavour to make bloody delicious cocktails and refreshing G&Ts that can be enjoyed outdoors in the sun!"
Kicking off a career as an Industrial Designer, Tim Cooke quickly pivoted and was spellbound by hospitality. Bars, cafes, restaurants, coffee roasting, and eventually working as a chef for years. It made perfect sense to distil this experience down into a spirit business, gin being a personal passion.
"Running a spirit business means no two days are the same. We are unique because the distillery, restaurant and bar are so closely integrated that every customer feels a part of the action. It is theatre".
Peta Cooke is a trained actor/director and understands more than most that hospitality is theatre. Customer experience is a culmination of sights, sounds, smells and, in the distillery's case, taste. And culture. Bringing a team of 25-odd staff along on the journey is a critical part of the operation.
"We can't do it without them and enrolling them in the development and success of the brand is critical to our success".
Having a venue like Wharf St, located in the most beautiful part of Australia, which we can call home and share with visitors, is a rare and unique privilege.