From UK & NYC bars to making Aussie craft soda

P.S.-Thor-BerquistAbove, bartender Thor Berquist is launching P.S., his craft soda brand.

After having worked at bars like Der Raum in Melbourne, Tippling Club in Singapore, the Experimental Cocktail Club in both London and New York and most recently, Sydney’s Bulletin Place, bartender Thor Berquist has taken on a new challenge.

“Basically I’m going into creating craft sodas,” he said.

The new range of sodas will launch at the end of February, Berquist said, and will be called P.S.

“It stands for Pop Soda,” he said. “We decided to keep the name as simple as possible because everything else is going to be a little progressive.


“They’re all kind of focused for use in bars and restaurants.”

In addition to making custom sodas for brands and events, they’ll have a core range of four sodas.

“Our main flavours will be the Blackstrap Ginger Beer, which makes a Dark & Stormy out of any rum, essentially,” said Berquist.  “We’re doing a Bush Tonic — because I couldn’t get quinine into the country without prior trading history had to find another route, so we’ve got gentian as the bittering agent, we’re using native ingredients like native lemongrass, lemon myrtle, and a local honey as well. So not quite a tonic water, but along those lines. It’s kind of similar to a drink called Tang, an old French soda, which was gentian and grapefruit.”

They’ll also make a Grilled Lemonade — “a lemonade with a bit of a charcoal flavour to it,” he said — and a Wattleseed Cola.

Berquist is joined in the project by his wife, Livia Lima, who is a designer, and Sydney bartender Michael Chiem.

“We came back to Australia for this reason, to really use the local ingredients and do it hands on, from scratch, ourselves,” said Berquist about the move to Sydney with his wife. It’s paid off already, with sodas being created for some events in February and March this year.

They are also looking for a Sydney venue at the moment, said Berquist, with plans for a cocktail bar out front and the soda production line in the back.

“We’ll be doing the sodas on tap, on draught, for the cocktail bar,” he said.

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