'Exciting' plans for Cardrona whisky distillery

JOHN EDENS
Last updated 05:00 05/07/2014

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

Commissioners on Thursday approved a plan to build a whisky distillery, perfumery and museum in the valley.

The plans by Zescent Group, run by Desiree Reid, were discussed at a resource consent hearing in Wanaka last month.

Reid said yesterday the resource consent approval was very exciting.

The next step was applying for building consent and, if approved, she hoped to start building by September and open next year.

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

"It's very exciting," Reid said.

"I'm just so grateful to the community for letting us go ahead." Reid 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 northeast 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, who make 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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