Thursday, 18 February 2016

OZ whisky distillery targets tourists

BUILDING a whisky distillery in the middle of an Australian wine region famous for its shiraz might seem a gamble, but John Rochfort thinks he is on to a winner. The McLaren Vale Distillery is opening its A$2.5 million HQ south of #Adelaide this month after securing an A$500,000 regional development grant from the state government. 

Rochfort, founder and general manager, said McLaren Vale’s climate and access to high quality water, barley, and wine barrels makes it an ideal location to distil #whisky. But he acknowledged that the 400,000 visitors to the region looking for a food and drink treat every year was a major attraction.

The distillery will include a malting plant and a cooper on site.

‘We will be able to do tours of the cooperage, we’ll have our own traditional floor malting so people who come to the distillery can actually help us mash in and help grind the grain or smoke the grain with the peat, and just really get involved with the business,’ Rochfort says. .

“We’ll not only have the cooperage and the malting plant but also glass blowers and artisan cheesemakers and one of the local breweries is moving up on to the site as well. We want to create an artisan village with complementary businesses … so for a visitor, what an amazing day. Get some whisky, have the bottle blown for you in front of your eyes, see your barrel coopered and go across to the cheesemaker and get some cheese for your tasting.’

While McLaren Vale continues to attract international accolades for its wine, recent road and rail upgrades have made the region easier to access, while the addition of micro-breweries and a gin distillery have broadened the region’s appeal.

Raised in South Australia, Rochfort spent many years working at distilleries in Tasmania before returning to set up the McLaren distillery, which also employs his brothers Nicholas and Lachlan, and his father.

“I found in Tasmania that one of the biggest parts of the business was engaging the customers and when they really started to understand the product and became educated on single malts, the pockets opened and the appreciation of what we were doing grew and all of a sudden the private ownership of barrels took off,” Rochfort said.

‘Particularly with McLaren Vale, when you’ve got 400,000 tourists a year who are primarily going there for a food and beverage experience, and when you’re the only dedicated single malt whisky distillery in the region, just about every visitor puts it on their list for their week’s tour.’

There are also plans for a hospitality, research, and conference centre as part of the project 

The first McLaren Vale whiskies are expected to be ready for release in 2018. The range of whiskies will start with the McLaren Vale single malt at A$120-A$150 through to the Bloodstone Collection featuring whiskies matured in the “best of the best” barrels from South Australia, ranging in price from A$500 to A$1000.

Go Holiday news :

Picture Credit: McLaren Vale Distillery

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.