Distilling a Wanderlusting Spirit From a Decades-Dormant Goods Shed
For Itinerant Spirits, life is about the experiences along the way, not the destination.
Using a curated selection of locally sourced ingredients, founders Craig Ryan & Brad Wilson of Little Lon Distilling Co., distil a range of spirits crafted to invoke sentiments to travel, exploration, and discovery.
Having recently acquired space within a long-dormant, heritage-listed train goods shed in Ballarat, the team sought assistance in bringing a beautifully complex vision to life. A bar and dining experience that felt intimately connected to the distilling process.
Fitting Out a Heritage-Listed Property
We started this journey with Itinerant Spirits over 3 years ago. Pandemic woes aside, working within a heritage-listed building comes with its own set of complexities. Trying to build a fully functional distillery within that same space adds a whole new dimension to the build.
Both of these factors limited how we could interact with and modify the space. However, these challenges gave us an opportunity to express our creativity through unique and customised design choices.
We were absolutely thrilled to bring Craig and Brad’s bold ideas to life. But we knew it wouldn’t be easy. As with every one of our clients, we were there from initial consultation to opening day, answering complex questions and providing transparent guidance on how to best complete each part of the build.
A Cross-Collaborative Effort
For complex projects like this, it’s not uncommon to have multiple parties working towards the same goal. Preston Lane Architects created the blueprint. Distillery consultants were brought in to advise on specific requirements for the distillery plant. Interior designer, Emma Maxwell Design, put forth ideas to bring the client's vision to life. And our good friends at Pellicano Group played a key role in the entire Goods Shed revival.
We took a primary role in executing the client's vision completely, coordinating all of these moving parts to deliver what Craig and Brad wanted. Along the way, we implemented creative solutions and ensured building code standards (for both heritage and distillery needs) were upheld.
Innovative Building Solutions
One example of this creative construction is a floating mezzanine. Being a heritage-listed space, we could not leverage the bluestone walls or any existing trusses to support newer construction. To create this feature element we had to create a totally free-standing structure inside the current building to ensure we didn't affect any of the bluestone. This required additional ground works to take the weight of the new mezzanine, along with alterations to services to suit different compartments.
At every stage of this transformation, the integrity of the existing building was our sole priority. We kept original elements, like the fireplace, as a lasting historical representation of what the building once was. We then built newer spaces to complement these original hero elements, turning the Goods Shed into an amazing destination space and state-of-the-art, modern distillery.
Given that the entire build houses a distillery plant we took additional steps to ensure that the fitout was completely fire-rated. All major walls have a 120/120/120 fire rating, taking at least 2 hours to burn through in the event of an emergency.
Two Fitouts in One
From the outside, Itinerant Spirits is one complete structure. Yet inside exists two completely different environments.
One is a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that produces ethanol. The other is space for sitting, drinking, and eating. Both the distillery and bar/restaurant have completely different planning and building requirements, requiring various consultants for each, along with a team behind the scenes coordinating all other essential requirements. This included things such as planning permits, liquor licences, council approval, dangerous goods approval, fire design, critical ventilation and heating, structural, underground tanks, steel portals and delicate building connection details.
And that’s before building approvals! It took a village of people to keep this project rolling along; supported by the steadfast confidence and persistence of Brad and Craig to see their vision of a rundown goods shed transformed into an elevated drinking and dining experience.
What differentiates Itinerant Spirits from similar distilleries is how the space seamlessly moves from restaurant to bar to distillery. The plant isn’t located in a separate space. Patrons can actually see the distilling process from their seats. An imported Kothe still towers over the bar. Distillers are working along in the background. A fire curtain was shipped from Germany to make sure the space looks and feels open. It doesn’t feel like 3 separate spaces, but an ongoing moment of continuity.
“Of all the people I’ve engaged on this project, Karl has been there at every step of the way. He’s picked up the phone at many an odd hour to answer any and all of my questions and concerns throughout this multi-year build.” —Craig Ryan, Co-Founder Itinerant Spirits
Executing Complex Bar & Restaurant Fitouts
This multi-year journey with the team at Itinerant Spirits has been nothing short of rewarding. We love helping local businesses bring their bold, adventurous ideas to life. And our decades of multi-industry experience make us the perfect fit for these types of opportunities.
Want to create a space that’s inviting, cosy, and engages your patrons?
Want a fitout that delivers a memorable experience, encouraging customers to come back again and again?
Reach out to us for your next bar or restaurant fitout – we don't mind giving you a little advice on cost, budgets, compliance, and space planning. Call us on 1800 434 868 or email email@example.com, and we would be more than happy to chat with you about bringing your vision to life.