Brass Lion Distillery, Singapore’s first-ever (almost) full-fledged micro-distillery specialising in small batch gins with local flavours, opens its doors to the public.
Before you nitpick, yes we know – Brass Lion isn’t technically Singapore’s first-ever distillery, nor did it make Singapore’s first ever gin either. The latter honour goes to the Szechuan Pepper Gin by Singapore-based Paper Lantern Distilling introduced in mid 2016; that spiced gin was actually produced in Chiang Mai, mainly because for the longest time Singapore laws did not allow commercial distillation except for medical purposes.
When those restrictive laws were finally relaxed in 2017, a number of concurrent plans to open Singapore’s first distillery was put into place. The first to officially emerge was Tanglin Gin in September this year with its Orchid Gin, founded by expatriates with a passion for both gin and Singapore. Barely a month later, Brass Lion Distillery would announce its presence.
Brass Lion Distillery is a wholly home-grown, and almost a fully-fledged distilling operation; we say almost because it sources neutral grain spirit from overseas – Australia, we understand – that it redistills with a customised 150-litre German-made hybrid pot still with its blend of aromatic botanicals to infuse its special flavours.
Brass Lion’s managing director Jamie Koh with Nala, their 150L hybrid still.
That aside, unlike Tanglin Gin which is based in a food factory in Mandai, Brass Lion Distillery calls its home a 4,000-square foot building at Alexander Terrance on the edge of Mapletree Business City. The standalone space contains not only its distillation room where the still is, but also an R&D lab, bottle personalisation room, a retail corner as well as a back garden where it grows some of the herbs and fruits that would go into its gins. That home also includes one of the most beautiful colonial-style tasting rooms you’ll ever set eyes on in any distillery, where you can choose to taste its gins neat, or in a classic gin-based cocktail such as a Gin & Tonic, Negroni or an Aviation.
“We first conceptualised the idea of a Singapore distillery producing uniquely Singapore spirits back in 2012,” shares Singapore-born Jamie Koh, the managing director for Brass Lion Distillery. “We believe Singapore is the perfect place to create a holistic distillery experience given how the cocktail and spirits scene here has matured,” she adds.
Gin and tonics made with Brass Lion’s Butterfly Pea Gin and Pahit Pink Gin.
Koh would know quite a bit about Singapore’s drinks scene too – in 2010 she co-founded The Chupitos Bar, Singapore’s first dedicated shots bar, and then followed that with The Beast in 2013, a Southern kitchen and bar focused on bourbon whiskey.
“We want to share our love for the art of distillation through education and the hands-on experience we are able to provide at the distillery,” Koh says, adding that they may also produce rum in addition to their gins.
Brass Lion currently has three commercially available gins – Singapore Dry Gin, Butterfly Pea Gin, and Pink Pahit Gin. Distillery tours are available certain hours of the day; they cost S$40 per person and take 45 minutes per session.
The botanicals that go into Brass Lion gins.
Brass Lion Distillery
Address 40 Alexandra Terrace, Singapore 119933 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 5pm to 12 mn Tuesdays to Fridays; 2pm to 12mn on Saturdays; 2pm to 7pm Sundays; closed on Mondays
Tel (65) 6954 0602