I visited our close island neighbour in 2013 to see what the Tassie boys are brewing. Landing in Hobart I hooked up with Bill Lark at Lark distillery to have a look at what he and many others are doing over there on our West Island.
Bill’s Whisky store and visitors centre is based in the centre of town while his and the other distillers are based further out in the country. So it was off on a motorcycle tour with Bill and his fellow distiller Mark to see a few distilleries.
Whisky production in Tasmania is cranking with yet another small producer setting up shop. The new Redlands distillery has been setup just out of Hobart. Joining the ranks of Larks, Nant, Sullivan Cove, Overeen, Helleyer and others distilling on the island.
Redlands is built on the historic 1840, farm with the original buildings surrounding it.
With the guidance of Tasmanian Whisky legend Bill Lark a state of the art micro distillery has been constructed in the old stables building. With barley grown on site this is a truly end to end production , complete with a malting drum, and malt floor and the 900 litre still, production is underway.
Small 100 litre casks will start to be filled and stored in the old brick buildings
The visitors shop has already been setup with local Whisky and beer with platters and refreshments to enjoy after a tour of the beautiful grounds and distillery.I look forward to returning to sample the fruits of there labour. James Reid the distiller is busy establishing this site which has huge potential.
Our ride took us across country to Nant. A restored water wheel Mill is now grinding grist for Whisky making. The distillery has accommodation and a fine restaurant. We tried some exceptional whiskies here which are all for sale on site.
The next stop was to sample a rare 100% rye whisky made on a farm by Peter Bignell and known as the Bellgrove Distillery. This one is to watch out for but a very small production.
We toured the Lark and Sullivans Cove distilleries the next day. They are a short drive from Hobart. The Lark operation was well setup with brewing and distilling all together and small half size barrels being stored away safely some meters away in a warehouse.
I was impressed with the Sullivans Cove product here they have a converted Brandy still producing fine Single Malt from Beer brought in from the local brewery. They age in full size casks a mixture of American and French oak. This one is available in store while the others will require a bit of negotiation to bring into New Zealand. Hopefully this year.