The long neglected Gerringong Co-op building, near the railway station, is getting a new lease of life as The Siding Gerringong.
Its owner, and local distiller, Ian Field has teamed up with wine distributor Leigh Dryden to open a cellar door tasting room, as the first step in unlocking the potential of the old industrial site.
The cellar door will sell vodka, sour mash whiskey and rum produced on site, as well as craft beer from Five Barrel in Wollongong, premixed cocktails from Croakers in Nowra and a range of wine Leigh imports, largely from Europe, through his company Decante This.
Ian began his distilling career in the building in 2006, so jumped at the chance of buying the complex when it came up for sale just over a year ago.
“I just love the industrial heritage of the building,” he says. “We are going to keep it in its original condition, and see how it develops.
“There is so much potential to bring together artisan producers and create a precinct in the great spaces that are already here.
“Lots of ideas are being considered.”
These include a craft brewery, using the space for pop-up events, and artisan food production and outlets.
The site includes the old Country Store site, and the space between the buildings can easily be envisaged as a village hub.
“The reaction of people to the space has been fantastic,” says Ian.
He was one of the first of a new wave of Australian boutique distillers, and continues to develop his craft and product range.
He’s currently working on a gin incorporating the local botanicals of finger lime and lemon tea tree, and aging a rum.
Until now, Ian has sold most of his spirits wholesale or on-line.
Leigh started Decante This in Switzerland in 2009, and moved to Gerringong in 2015. He is excited about being able to run his wine importing business from here.
“We’ve only just finished clearing things out and setting up, and already you can feel that the old girl (the building) is so much happier. She was feeling sad and neglected before,” he says.
“It is the perfect place to showcase the best local and international offerings.”
The Siding Gerringong,
Friday 3pm-6pm, Saturday 10-4pm, Sunday 11-3pm.
Opposite Gerringong Railway Station.