Launceston has its first whisky distillery in 175 years.
Hangar 17 officially opened its doors on Sunday, bringing a five-year journey to a close for distiller and director Chris Condon.
The next journey has now begun for Mr Condon, and the distiller’s four other directors, as the Western Junction distillery’s first two releases were made available to the general public on Monday.
The site, adjacent to the Launceston Airport, will be the home of the company’s new whisky, titled simply the Launceston Distillery.
“Launceston was the obvious gap in the Tasmanian Whisky Trail,” Mr Condon said.
“The demographic is changing and people no longer associate whisky as an older gentlemen’s drink.
“There are a lot of younger people, so the future of whisky [in Tasmania] looks quite promising.”
Launceston Distillery’s first two releases, which took almost three years to distill and store, consist of four different types of single malt whiskies.
Mr Condon said all of the whisky’s ingredients, distilling and storing equipment was sourced locally.
He said the Hobart-built barrels were originally used to store sherry and tawny port.
“Our whiskies are unpeated and they have more fruity, floral flavours associated with the pear and the tawny,” he said.
“We’re just really trying to make a high-quality whisky that has a sense of place and is associated with Launceston.”
The distillery’s base was the home of Ansett for many years and was included in the Launceston Airport’s heritage register, according to distillery director Rob Carrol.
He said the proximity to the airport made it an ideal location for the distillery to welcome tourists.
“I think it will be the perfect place for tourists to stop on their way in or way out, and we’d like it to be the premier place to go in the north to taste other people’s whiskies as well,” Mr Carrol said.
“We will be selling whisky from the airport and possibly other associated sites with the Australia Pacific Airports Corporation.”
Primary Industries Minsiter Sarah Courtney delivered a short speech at the opening, calling the whisky trade a “small, but vibrant and growing industry in Tasmania”.
“[Hangar 17] is a wonderful celebration of the amazing things we have here in Tasmania,” she said.
Bottles will retail at $155.