Australia's craft distillers head to Port Arthur for conference

Tasmania’s reputation as the place to be for craft distilleries will be explored in detail at the Australian Distillers Association annual conference on Monday.

Hosted by McHenry Distillery at Port Arthur, conference attendees will be able to see, taste and hear exactly what attracts so many distillers to the island state.

Distillery owner William McHenry said the Tasman Peninsula location was perfect for the conference, with around 80 attendees expected.

“This is a gathering of Australia’s best, finest and newest distilleries,” Mr McHenry said.

“It’s a perfect storm that’s hitting Australian craft distilleries and it’s growing in leaps and bounds,” he said.

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The conference covers issues affecting micro distilleries, Australian and international industry news, tax reform, truth in labelling and advertising and the annual general meeting.

Bruny Island cheesemaker Nick Haddow is speaking during the afternoon session and journalist Charles Wooley will speak at the dinner event, which is catered by chef Rodney Dann.

“We built a new cellar door perched on top of Mount Arthur so we can showcase the Tasman Peninsula,” Mr McHenry said.

McHenry Distillery produces whisky and gin from spring water sourced on the property.

“We moved from Sydney 10 years ago to build a distillery. We moved to Port Arthur to source the purest water we could get,” Mr McHenry said.

“It’s one of the coldest parts of Tasmania with high rainfall, which is an ideal climate for whisky ageing. It’s a quite distinctive microclimate that mirrors the Scottish climate,” he said.

McHenry Distillery exports its whisky and gin around the world.