New Zealand craft spirit producer, Scapegrace Distilling Company, has revealed a new £13m distillery in Central Otago, New Zealand.
Said to be New Zealand’s largest ever distillery, the development will in-time produce the entirety of its current portfolio of super premium gin and vodka, alongside its soon-to-be released single malt whisky, with plans to expand into other products further down the line.
Located on Lake Dunstan on the South Island, the distillery is poised to entertain locals and international visitors alike in the coming years. The prominent 36-hectare Central Otago property overlooks both Lake Dunstan and Mt Pisa, boasting uninterrupted views of the historic Bendigo mountains.
Founded almost 10 years ago by brothers in law Daniel Mclaughlin and Mark Neal along with Richard Bourke, the trio had a vision to produce superior spirits from New Zealand which could be sold in all parts of the world. Fast forward to the present, the brand is now distributed to 40 countries.
The Central Otago property provides the perfect climate and water quality for producing spirits. Managing Director, Daniel McLaughlin, says: “The halfway point between equator and south pole runs directly through our distillery site, giving us extremes in hot and cold temperatures – an optimum environment for aging whisky. Naturally, the pristine water quality is also ideal for distilling gin & vodka, pulling from glacial run-off from the Southern Alps.”
Mclaughlin continues: “Over the past 5 years we’ve been quietly putting down whisky at our old distillery site and we’ll soon be launching Scapegrace Single Malt Whisky.”
Scapegrace global sales director, James Cowan, says: “Having worked in the Scotch and American Whisky sectors for over 20 years, it is extremely inspiring to see our independent NZ distillery bring about something new, refreshing and exciting to the whisky landscape and our new distillery and expansion into single malt will undoubtedly open new doors across the globe for the business.”
The Scapegrace Distillery has been designed by Nat Cheshire, Ascinda Stark & Emily Doll of Cheshire Architects, which is famous for spearheading the design of some of New Zealand’s most influential and impressive spaces. Distillery designer, Nat Cheshire explains his inspiration: “Two simple longhouses slip past each other, abutted by lichen and Kanuka, recessive but unapologetic in this enormous landscape. Inside, darkness, distillation, delight and, above all, discovery.”
Construction has already commenced on the first building which will contain the new Scapegrace head office, bottling hall, warehouse and the first barrel room which is due to be open in August 2022. Each barrel room holds almost 2,000 casks of whisky with an additional three barrel rooms planned over the coming years. The second building which contains the state-of-the-art distillery will open in October 2023. The Scapegrace Distillery property plans to open with a substantial food & beverage experience and distillery tour offering.
Scapegrace marketing director and co-founder, Mark Neal adds: “We made the decision early on to create a world-leading distillery with sustainability at the forefront, so together with the experts at Cheshire we have factored that into every decision we’ve made.”
When mapping carbon footprints Scapegrace decided to switch from traditional fossil fuel boilers to electrode boilers. The distillery building structure itself is to be constructed from timber rather than steel. “Each decision is an incremental step forward in our quest to eventually become carbon neutral and create a property that enhances the region,” says Neal.
This approach has been applied across the entire project. With a goal to not only enhance its product offering but also foster the community and give back to all who visit the property, the Scapegrace team is already planning a regenerative planting programme that will see $150,000 worth of native Kanuka replanted on the site. Plans are also underway for a walking track through the property allowing locals and visitors alike to pour through the site and enjoy the historic setting including remnants of historic gold mines that will remain as a point of interest for visitors to the property.
The Distillery is planned to open to the public November 2023.