Tasmanian Whisky Week puts northern distillers on the map

NICE SPREAD: Launceston Distillery head distiller and director Chris Condon and Saint John Craft Beer barman Jesse Campling. Picture: Phillip Biggs
NICE SPREAD: Launceston Distillery head distiller and director Chris Condon and Saint John Craft Beer barman Jesse Campling. Picture: Phillip Biggs

The 2018 edition of the Tasmanian Whisky Week will be the first ever to feature a Launceston distillery. 

Launceston Distillery, based at Western Junction cellar door Hangar 17, officially launched last month. 

The new distiller, the first Launceston-based whisky distiller in 175 years, will host a whisky tasting evening for the festival on Tuesday, with four other Northern Tasmanian operations. 

The other distillers involved at the St John Craft Beer-hosted event are Fanny’s Bay Distillery, Adam’s Distillery, Corra Linn Distiller and Ironhouse Distillery.

Launceston Distillery head distiller and director Chris Condon said it was important for the northern companies to work together. 

“We just wanted to include the northern region and get as many distilleries here as we could and it seems to have generated quite a bit of interest,” he said. 

“I’ve heard a few people will travel up from Hobart and one gentleman travelling from interstate for the festival has made a point of going to the northern event.

“This would be the first Tasmanian Whiskey Week where we have all had a product that has sufficiently matured to have a nice tasting evening together.”

Launceston Distillery’s launch came after five years of planning and hard work, according to Mr Condon. 

...the first time we tasted it was pretty satisfying.

Launceston Distillery head distiller Chris Condon

The distilling process of the first release began almost three years ago and included a barreling period of a little more than 2 years. 

The five distillery directors first tasted their product about 18 months into that barreling process. 

An occasion Mr Condon described as momentous in the distiller’s short history.

“We were probably looking at them earnestly at about 18 months to get a gauge on how they’re going and you just keep gong back to them every few months,” he said.

“You’re never quite sure until you taste it, but the spirit going into the barrels was fine, we were happy with that, and the first time we tasted it was pretty satisfying. 

“We were happy with the way it was travelling.”

Mr Condon hopes the event is the first of many for Northern Tasmanian whiskey distilleries. 

While southern distillers, such as Sullivans Cove and Redlands Estate, are more well known nationally, Mr Condon thinks people will soon start taking notice of their northern neighbours. 

“This event on Tuesday night is a sign there’s more starting to happen in the north,” he said.