Over the past two decades, Australian Whisky distillers have taken inspiration and adapted techniques from around the world to craft a whisky style all their own – now, they are going for growth.
In Tasmania, the place best-known for Australian whisky internationally, larger-scale whisky distilleries are now coming online as well. Greenbanks Distilling Co. will open its contract distilling operation north of Hobart, the island’s whisky-soaked capital, in early 2023. The three founders behind the business, John Slattery, Hugh Roxburgh and Tim Salt, the latter a former managing director of Diageo Australia, are highly experienced in the distilling and finance industries. Their project is bound to add a whole new flavour to the Tasmanian scene.
“Our main goal with Greenbanks,” says director and distiller Slattery, “is to take Tasmanian whisky to the world by solving two problems: one, the high price points of Tasmanian whiskies relative to their international counterparts; and two, the extremely limited availability of Tasmanian whisky to anyone beyond Australia.”
One of the key points of difference Greenbanks will bring, apart from its size, is versatility. A mash filter installed by Belgian firm Meura will allow the distillery to efficiently make whisky from any grain. Sydney’s award-winning Archie Rose Distilling Co. uses the same uniquely designed piece of kit, as do Teaninich and InchDairne in Scotland, and the Midleton and Waterford distilleries in Ireland. The Greenbanks team are also going to produce greater volumes of spirit from wheat, one of Australia’s largest agricultural exports, alongside barley and other grains.
“Tasmanian whisky has been winning international awards since 2014 thanks to brands like Sullivans Cove, and it now has an international fan base,” says Slattery. “The challenge for that fan base is supply, so we see an opportunity to take Tasmanian whisky to the world.”