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The Hellyers Road Distillery

The Hellyers Road Distillery

The Hellyers Road Distillery

Most of the whisky drinkers never would have thought that they will find a little gem in Australia, even further south, on the island Tasmania. The Hellyers Road distillery is located in the northwest of Tasmania, a few miles south of the coastal port city Burnie in the countryside. It is the largest single malt distillery in Australia and the only one in that area of Tasmania. There some more distilleries on the “Tasmanian Whisky Trail”, but they are found more in the southeast of Tasmania.

Named after Henry Hellyer

The distillery is named after the European explorer and architect Henry Hellyer, who mapped north-west Tasmania in the 1830s. In former times he built a dirt road, that nowadays leads to the distillery.

The history at a glance

The distillery was founded in the mids 1990. It was built in the pristine dairy farming country next to the milk factory of Betta Milk. During that time, the deregulation of the dairy industry in Australia let the board of Betta Milk look for further business and they made a visionary decision. As they wanted to keep up the well-known quality of Tasmanian food and beverage Betta Milk made a quite unusual decision. Due to the access to some of the world purest drinking water and the knowledge of the good quality of ingredients from the surroundings, they setup up a new single malt whisky distillery.

The distillery was operational in 1999 and in January the first batch of New-Make was distilled. The first sale of that whisky was in 2006. The distillery is 100% Tasmanian owned and operated by a company who believe in quality products. Meanwhile, the distillery matured as its whisky and is the winner of several national and international awards. The Tasmanian single malt whisky is delivered to over 20 European countries and Japan.

And the winner is … Some of the Awards

The Hellyers Road Distillery - Some Awards
Some Awards
  • Peated Single Malt was recognised as the nation’s best whisky at the Malt Whisky Society of Australia Awards for Excellence 2010
  • Awarded Best New World Whisky at Whisky Live, Paris 2013 and judged Super Premium World Whisky Master at the Masters of Whisky -U.K. (Pinot Noir Finish)
  • Pinot Noir Finish recognised as one of the World’s Ten Best Value Whiskies 2015
  • Awarded Best Single Cask Release (non-aged) in the World Whisky Awards 2016 for Saint Valentine’s Peak, 2017 for Wey River, 2018 Dismal Swamp, 2019 Black Bluff.
  • Gold (Port Cask Matured 10 Year) and Silver (Original 10 Year) in the World Whisky Master Awards 2016 and Slightly Peated 12 Year in 2017.
  • Gold (Master Series Peated) in the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards –2017 and Master Series Original & Slightly Peated 10 Year in 2018 (Also named Champion Australian Whisky).
  • In 2019 Slightly Peated 10 Year was recognised as Best Australian Whisky at the World Whisky Awards and the Original 15 Year won its category in the same awards

Master Distiller Mark Littler Interview

Interview Interview Interview

Distilling  and Bottling

The Wash Still is of 60,000 litres capacity but during distilling, only 40,000 litres is utilised. New-make spirit is contained in a 20,000-litre capacity Low Wines Receiver from where it is pumped to a similar capacity Spirit Still. Each still operates very slowly with the triple plus times distilled spirit flowing at 100litres per hour into a 3,000-litre New-MakeReceiverbefore charcoal filtering is employed, prior to bottling. It’s a patient and controlled process but the end result is both rewarding and well worth the wait. The outcome is a smooth, crisp spirit that takes full advantage of the premium Tasmanian ingredients that include local malted barley and some of the world’s purest drinking water. The only exception to this rule is the distillery’s Peated single malt which was crafted using peated barley sourced from Inverness, Scotland. Despite the availability of small amounts of peat in Tasmania’s highlands, commercial farming of the ingredient is not viable or sustainable for long term production. All HRD whiskies contain no caramel additive and are non-chill filtered for optimum enjoyment. The barrels used are predominantly American oak (ex-bourbon) which are char fired prior to filling. The distillery also utilises French oak casks for maturing of its port flavoured single malts and for the finishing of its pinot influenced whiskies. These casks are sourced from local wineries.

Bond Store

As of January 2020, the distillery had in excess of 2800 casks under bond, most of these being of 200-litre capacity.

Visitor Center

Restaurant

Environment

Portraits

Hellyer Track, Hellyer Gorge

 

Annual Distillery capacity –200 000 litres pure alcohol
Distillery Bottling capacity –1500 bottles per hour

As of January 2020, the distillery had in excess of 2800 casks under bond, most of these being of 200-litre capacity.

In late 2020 Hellyers Road will release its first sherry cask matured single malts with these casks having being sourced from Spain in 2014.