Blogged by: Melbourne Central 16 Jul 2020

Meet Luke Whearty from Byrdi

Luke Whearty is not only a world reknowned bartender, but he's also the owner of Byrdi Melbourne, located in ELLA. Focused on getting the most out of seasonal and native ingredients, Byrdi is an experience like no other. 

Lockdown isn't a fun time for any of us, but Luke and his team at Byrdi are helping bring the drinks to you. Byrdi on the Fly, their new delivery service is available now!

Tell us about your takeaway/delivery service. How does it work? How do we order? What’s on the menu?
At BYRDI, we are running a pick up and delivery service Tuesday - Saturday from 4pm - 11pm. You can order a range of our signature bottled cocktails and some of our collaborative limited editions such as our Nebbiolo Rose that we picked with FIN wines and our seaside gin that we made with Applewood distillery. We also have a selection of wines, beers and other things from some of our favourite producers. All you have to do is jump onto and you can order direct for pick up or delivery. We will deliver within a 10km radius of Melbourne CBD. We will also be releasing some exciting new things in the coming weeks so keep an eye out.
Gin or Whisky… 
Gin in Summer, Whiskey in winter.
Tell us about the inspiration behind BYRDI?
BYRDI is an amalgamation of both mine and my partner Aki Nishikura’s experiences over the last 10-15 years but more specifically what we have missed in the last 5-7 years being away from home. After leaving Australia almost 7 years ago to live in Singapore and open multiple venues we started to miss certain things that make Australia such a unique place and the two biggest things were seasonality and local produce. At first glance Singapore seems as though it’s a food mecca but when you look deeper you realise that there isn’t much in the way of local produce and vast majority of produce is imported. Plus the fact that there are no changing seasons means there's not much that ever changes. Coming back to Australia to open BYRDI we really wanted to embrace locality and seasonality as the core themes and as such the menu is always changing and evolving. We also wanted to make BYRDI very collaborative in nature so it is very much a focus of ours to work with likeminded people in the community from local farmers to crafts people which means there’s always something exciting in the pipeline that we have planned.
Why is using local produce important to you? 
It just makes sense, especially given the amazing array of local produce we have access to in Australia and more specifically in Victoria. Also becoming a father in the last 2 years has made me evaluate what I think is important and one of those things is supporting small producers and having an understanding of where your food comes from. This is something that I want to pass onto my son, so I feel I should lead by example.
What sparks your creativity?
Anything and everything! I think the number one thing when it comes to creativity is to simply open yourself up to it. Once you open yourself up to the world ideas find you. It's that simple.
Ready to unwind… What’s your drink of choice? 
Wine. Anything local and interesting. Loving the new wines from the guys at FIN at the moment. Their Piquette is my new favourite thing to drink! 
How do you develop new drinks?
It often starts with a simple idea and then it slowly grows. For example we had a simple idea to make a seasonal G&T for winter just recently. It started with some amazing rhubarb we were getting from a local farm in Wandin Yallock. To align it to our winter theme we decided to incorporate a smoked element. Carefully considering flavour pairings, we  team up the rhubarb with a hint of pistachio. Next thing you have a carbonated highball cocktail with distilled pistachio and a smoked rhubarb tonic. All of a sudden it grew into something much more complex.
Ultimate flavour combination?
Mango and raw tuna. Something my father and law Hiro San from Shira Nui made me once and its always stuck in my mind.
When you are not at the bar where would we find you?
By the ocean.