Drink a dram of estate-grown rye on the very farm where it was grown and made, or try a nip of multi-award winning sheep’s whey vodka while overlooking the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, with a visit to one of Hobart’s distilleries.
Tasmania’s cachet as a gourmet destination that’s ripe for touring is now well and truly established. But food and wine aside, it’s Tassie’s burgeoning spirits scene that’s drawing international acclaim and driving visitors to its shores.
Whatever your poison – vodka, whisky, gin – you’ll find it here on the Apple Isle, the state’s distilleries often occupying dreamy country settings with bucolic farmland views.
Yet the island’s best experiences are by no means confined to the countryside. In leafy greater Hobart, you’ll find a clutch of inviting distilleries that more than merit a window in your holiday itinerary. Read on for six of Hobart’s best distilleries.
See huge oak barrels around the famed distilleries in Hobart. (Image: Sullivan’s Cove)
1. Lark Distillery, Pontville
Not a big fan of whisky? The setting at Lark’s Pontville distillery alone could likely convert you to the amber side.
A ‘working whisky village’ set among restored historical buildings that date back to the early 1800s, which preside over a picture-perfect slice of Tassie countryside on Hobart’s rural-urban fringe, Lark’s distillery door offers tours, tastings and a whisky blending class.
Though its predominantly known for its whisky, this Hobart distillery also produces gin through its Forty Spotted label, which you can sample at Lark’s cellar door.
Australia’s oldest single malt whisky maker also has several Hobart CBD venues, including a historical cellar door that offers whisky flights, a schmick cocktail lounge (The Still) that spotlights whisky in all its forms, and a dedicated modernist gin bar that also offers cocktail masterclasses.
Try Lark’s classic single malt whiskey. (Image: Lark Distillery)
2. Sullivan’s Cove, Cambridge
Laying claim to the hallowed title of Australia’s most awarded whisky, Sullivan’s Cove is a distillery that’s serious about its craft.
Its French Oak Single Cask and American Oak Single Cask whiskies are particular standouts, both having been named among the globe’s best.
Taste Sullivan’s Cove single malt straight from the source at its Cambridge distillery door and decide if the premium whisky label is worthy of its many titles for yourself.
Beyond the distillery’s tastings (choose from a brandy flight, a whisky flight, or a premium whisky flight that features rare releases) visitors can also take part in a tour that promises a deep dive into the world of whisky making.
Savour American oak flavours at Sullivan’s Cove. (Image: Sullivan’s Cove)
3. Hartshorn Distillery, Birchs Bay
Plenty of distilleries lay claim to the title of brewing the kookiest, most unique spirits, but few hold a candle to Shene when it comes to the singularity of product.
Producing small-batch spirits from sheep whey (a by-product of cheese manufacturing, and an element that is often tipped straight in the bin), this Birchs Bay distillery is wildly sustainable and was born out of a desire to reduce waste and challenge the processes involved in traditional spirit making.
Its firstborn – sheep whey vodka – boasts a litany of accolades to its name, including the ‘World’s Best Vodka’ and ‘Australian Beverage of the Year’ to call out but a few. They’ve since added gin, a vanilla liqueur, and a ‘whey-sky’ to the mix.
The humble and homely distillery door offers three main experiences. A 20-minute guided ‘Tasting Teaser’ which covers both handcrafted farmhouse sheep’s cheese, produced by sister company Grandvewe, and, of course, its house spirits; a one-hour gin-making class; and even a one-hour butter-making class.
Less well-organised patrons can also roll up on the day for a cheese platter and a drink with a side serving of water views.
The Sheep Whey Vodka is recognised as one of the world’s best vodka. (Image: Hartshorn Distillery)
4. 7k Distillery, Derwent Park
Known for its friendly and accommodating team, the 7k Derwent Park distillery produces craft whisky and gin.
The proud producers of ‘the world’s hottest gin’ – made with Scoville scale topper the Carolina Reaper – as well as a ‘dry chilli’ number, there’s plenty to write home about 7k.
But those with less outlandish palettes won’t be left wanting either: the boutique distillery also offers a much smoother Modern Tasmanian Gin, a fragrant and fruity raspberry gin, a single malt whisky, and also coffee liqueur that’s perfect for fixing up a pre-dinner espresso martini that packs a punch.
Distillery tours are available Monday through Friday (bookable through the distillery’s website) and offer a behind-the-scenes look at the entire production process as well as a tasting.
Have a sip of 7K Distillery’s Rasberry Gin. (Image: 7K Distillery)
5. Killara Distillery, Richmond
Owned and operated by Kristy Booth-Lark, the scion of none other than whisky distiller extraordinaire Bill Lark, of Lark Distillery – where she also previously worked as head distiller and general manager – you can expect great things from this boutique Hobart distillery.
Enjoy a single-malt whiskey on top of Hobart’s scenic landscape. (Image: Killara Distillery)
The brand’s focus is on single malt whisky and gin, though Kristy also dabbles in other spirits, such as vodka, and produces an intriguing ‘bush liqueur’ made from foraged Tasmanian pepperberries.
Tucked away down a country lane on the outskirts of Richmond, Killara’s modern yet compact distillery door is quite the apparition with its smoky grey exterior and huge picture window that overlooks the surrounding greenery.
Drop by Killara’s Distillery for some wine tasting. (Image: Killara’s Distillery)
6. Belgrove Distillery, Kempton
The very antithesis of Australia’s big-name distillers, with their immaculate branding and distillery doors conceptualised by fancy architects and bigwig interior designers, Belgrove is a breath of fresh air.
The first rye distillery in Australia and the only bio-diesel (cooking oil) powered still in the world, this Kempton distillery and working farm is endearingly rustic.
It’s also one of the few whisky distilleries on the globe to do everything onsite, from growing and harvesting all its grain, to malting, fermenting, distilling, and barrel ageing.
As owner/operator (and master distiller) Peter Bignell refers to it, Belgrove Distillery represents a true ‘dirt to drink’ experience. Call ahead to organise a visit – Peter warmly welcomes visitors, but by appointment only.
Every day is a cocktail night at Belgrove Distillery. (Image: Belgrove Distillery)
For more exciting food and wine experiences, check out our ultimate guide for the top things to do in Hobart.