Waiheke Whisky began as a dream long before The Waiheke Island Distillery was officially established in 2010. Founders Mark and Ro Izzard together with friends set out to make a distinctly New Zealand Single Malt Whisky, using New Zealand grown barley, New Zealand peat and some good old fashioned Kiwi ingenuity.
Years prior Mark and friend Richard Evatt, started out making alcohol with sugar wash from honey frames (Richard is a bee keeper). This progressed to making small volumes of wash using NZ grain and then to distilling. Tony Denny, with great experience in malting, brewing and wort production helped the team learn how to mash properly and get some consistent processes in place. Another friend, Eric, an engineer and maker, CAD designed the geodesic shape of the first copper pot still. The geodesic design drives reflux and copper contact, leading to a reduction of sulphur compounds and a more elegant spirit. Patrick Newton, the talented winemaker from Mudbrick Vineyard took an interest in production and became Waiheke’s stillman and whiskymaker, whilst still making award-winning wines for Mudbrick.
Through a partnership with Canterbury-based Gladfield malt, Waiheke Whisky has pushed the limits of heavily peated malt in New Zealand, using peat from Tussock Creek in Southland. Both American and European oak cask are used for maturing the spirit on the island, which come from distilleries and wineries both overseas and close to home. Waiheke Whisky’s brand home at The HEKE, opposite the golf course, is open for visitors and ready to provide a warm island welcome. Phase two of the distillery is in progress with new stills due to arrive from Scotland in the second half of 2022. Distillery tours and barrel room tastings will soon be ready for booking.
The HEKE, 64 Onetangi Road, Waiheke Island