From Barrel to Bar – Cradle Coast Distilleries to Try
What better way to warm the cockles of your heart as you travel around the Cradle Coast than to stop into our distilleries along the way to sample a dram of whisky or a refreshing gin?
Tasmania has a long history of brewing and distilling that combines traditional craft with state of the art technology and a commitment to sustainability.
The state’s pure water is perfect for distilling whisky, vodka and gin with award-winning distilleries producing some of the world’s greatest spirits right here. So why not take some home and enjoy the great flavour of a Tassie drop long after you’ve left the island?
Southern Wild Distillery
The makers of award-winning Dasher + Fisher Gin, Southern Wild Distillery produces premium spirits created around the pure water, fresh ingredients and passionate growers of Tasmania. Dasher and Fisher are two wild rivers that run from the snow-melt mountains, through the rich hinterland, to the pristine coast of Tasmania’s north-west. From this pure water they copper pot distil botanicals sourced from the many growers who live here.
An experienced food scientist by trade, George Burgess has years of technical expertise. Working for the food and beverage industry, his job was to eliminate the variations of different seasons and ingredients. Now he’s rebelling, creating delicious fresh flavours by highlighting the different ingredients he finds at his doorstep, embracing the different seasons they are harvested in. While his background is the food industry, it’s the perfume industry that influences him most. He loves to play with multiple layers of aromas and flavours that evolve and add a sense of mystery. A proud Devonport local, he’s been tinkering with spirits for more than a decade. George believes that every sip should give you a sense of time and place; that you should almost smell and taste the season and the landscape. It’s something only a distiller that fully grasps the process, the ingredients and Tasmania can achieve.
The award-winning gins are based on the landscape and the ingredients that are found in the area: Mountain, Meadow and Ocean. All three include the ‘Tassie Trio’ of ingredients – native pepperberry, lavender and wakame. They are dialled up and down, and combined with various botanicals to create different layers of taste for each variant.
Hellyers Road Distillery
Australia’s largest boutique whisky distillery can be found in Burnie, an easy 30-minute drive from Devonport’s Spirit of Tasmania ferry terminal. Named after one of the first European explorers to arrive in the North-West, this distillery sprang from an unlikely source. Boutique milk co-operative Betta Milk was established in 1956 and now consists of over 30 farming families. Looking to diversify, CEO Mark Littler decided if they could make great milk, they could also make great whisky. In 1999 they invested in a distillery in Burnie and opened a visitors centre in 2006.
The distillery now exports to 20 European countries and has a special whisky finished in Tassie’s own pinot noir barrels, as well as the more traditional bourbon and port barrel options. The Visitor Centre, overlooking the beautiful Emu Valley, offers a fully licensed cafe and a Tasting Bar to sample the wide range of whiskies on offer.
Visitors can go behind the scenes and tour the working distillery and learn how Hellyers Road crafts its award-winning single malt whiskies. The Whisky Walk also provides the opportunity to pour and wax seal your very own bottle of Hellyers Road Distiller’s Choice whisky – complete with signed certificate of authenticity. Bookings for the Whisky Walk are recommended.
Empress Craft Beer
Born out of Launceston’s popular Saint John Craft Beer, Empress Craft Beer – named after one of the passenger ships that used to ply the Melbourne to Devonport run – berthed in the Coastal city in March 2017. Found at Shop 2 48-54 Oldaker St, Devonport, the former mechanics site has been transformed into a welcoming space with its blend of outdoor decking seating, tall tables and comfortable couches.
While its main focus may be more about the craft beer, Empress also offers a wine list that is focused on lesser-seen local and international labels and there’s broad support for local distillers, with the gins and whisky line-up augmented with rarer imported spirits.
Their neighbours Hill Street Grocers provide the deli cheese, meats, breads and nibbles that comprise the Empress food offering, you can order takeaways from Drift to be delivered to you or even BYO food. Empress also host an awesome meat tray raffle and regular live music.
Open Sunday-Thursday, noon-10pm, Friday-Saturday noon-midnight, call 03 6423 3648 or email [email protected] for more information.
The Angel’s Share
Make your way down the coast to Stanley and head for The Angel’s Share, at 14 Church Street, for a showcase of Tasmania’s finest beverages. They are proud stockists of quality Tasmanian whiskies, spirits and locally handcrafted giftware.
The now world-famous whiskies and spirits produced in Tasmania are available for tasting and to purchase. From big, bold, cask strength whisky, to the elegance of Sloe gin, there is something to tempt every palate. And for lovers of Tasmanian wine, beer and cider, The Angel’s Share offers a select range of Tasmania’s finest.
Open seven days, noon till 7pm, call 0418 119 165 or visit The Angel Share for more information.
Spirit Bar Tasmania
Located in the historic 1920s Launceston Bank for Savings building, complete with the original bank vault door, at 14 Cattley St, Burnie, Spirit Bar Tasmania is a 100% Tasmanian beverages and produce bar and restaurant featuring more that 100 of the state’s best whiskies, gins, vodkas, rums, craft beers, wines and ciders as well as a range of delicious Tasmanian produce designed to complement the drinks menu.
The owners aim to offer a veritable tour of Tasmania – led by your tastebuds! Tassie is the place to lose yourself in the distilling and brewing industry, and the Spirit Bar Tasmania is the place to worship all that is produced here.