'Exciting' plans for Cardrona whisky distillery

JOHN EDENS
Last updated 12:01 04/07/2014
Cardrona distillery
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Draft architectural concept plans for the Cardrona distillery.

Desiree Reid
Supplied
Desiree Reid

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A new whisky distillery near Queenstown has been given the go-ahead in the Cardrona Valley.

Commissioners have approved a plan to build a whisky distillery, perfumery and museum in Cardrona valley. The plans by Zescent Group, run by Desiree Reid, were discussed at a resource consent hearing in Wanaka last month.

Reid said the resource consent approval was exciting and that the next step was applying for building consent.

If approved, she hopes to start building by September and be open next year.

Once the distillery is operational, the first batch of 10-year single malt is expected by the mid-2020s. Other spirits, vodka and fruit liqueur, will be available.

''It's very exciting. I'm just so grateful to the community for letting us go ahead. So we're hoping all going well we hope to be starting building by the start of September," Reid said.

She plans to produce traditional Speyside-style single malt whisky, using malted barley sourced from Canterbury, bourbon casks from the United States and sherry casks, which she has not yet sourced.

''The wood is incredibly important. I've found a beautiful source of ex-bourbon casks from a small distillery in the United States. I really want to get some sherry casks, that's a work in progress.''

Speyside-style whisky, originally from the north-east of Scotland, is distinct from the peated style of malts and characterised by light, clean and sweet flavours.

Reid travelled to Scotland three times for research and spent time at distilling courses and marketing seminars.

Stills will be obtained from fourth-generation Scottish coppersmiths Forsyths of Rothes, which makes plant for Macallan, Balvenie, Glenlivet and Glenfiddich.

A museum will be run by the community under the Cardrona Heritage Trust.

The proposed site is opposite the skifield entrance.

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