Rolling out the barrels

Al Malloch and Jimmy McKeown stand proudly in front of their first copper still.
Al Malloch and Jimmy McKeown stand proudly in front of their first copper still.

‘Everyone’s got a crazy uncle, but it’s quite the opposite; it’s really smooth,’ he said, a comment that makes complete sense when you realise he’s talking about their Crazy Uncle moonshine, a product that pays homage to a homebrew recipe from World War II and memories of a clandestine distilling operation in a backyard shed.

Aimed at the younger whiskey drinker, Crazy Uncle exemplifies the spirit of Whipper Snapper, a name coined as a promise to ‘stick it to the big guys’.

However, the logo, which depicts a WWII bomber with whiskey barrels in place of propellers, makes another determined promise.

‘It symbolises delivering good whiskey to Australia,’ Malloch said.

Comprising Al, his brother-in-law Jimmy McKeown, Tommy ‘Coop’ Cooper, from Colorado Gold Distillery in the US who owned the original 50-year-old recipe, and single-malt distiller Frank McHardy, from Scotland’s Springbank and Bushmills, the Whipper Snapper boys are determined to put WA on the whiskey map.

‘There’s a lot of tradition in bourbon-making and it’s the same with single-malt as well,’ McKeown said.

‘In Australia, there’s not much tradition around anything here so it gives me a hunger to carve out something, to do something new for Australians as well.’

The urban cellar doors of the Kensington Street warehouse were thrown open to the public last week after five years of hard slog, receiving its first customers not just for tastings and distillery tours but for the Five Senses takeaway coffee being sold out the servery window.

Gigs, art installations and educational workshops are also on the warehouse’s calendar.

Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi will officially open Whipper Snapper on September 9, which will include the launch of several signature whiskey cocktails.