Tasmanian Whisky Centre of Excellence looms as 'game-changer' »

Supported by industry, NRM South and University of Tasmania

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Ken Moore of NRM South, and Peter Hope, of Redlands Estate

Ken Moore of NRM South, and Peter Hope, of Redlands Estate

Interior stills at the Nant Distillery at Bothwell in Tasmania's Central Highlands
Serious whisky! Single Malt Whisky from Lark Distillery in Tasmania


Tasmania's world-class whisky makers took a bold step towards achieving their potential as an economically significant industry when Redlands Estate in the Derwent Valley announced plans to establish a Whisky Centre of Excellence.

To be run in conjunction with natural resource management organisation NRM South and supported by the University of Tasmania's  Australian Centre for Research into Separation Sciences, the Centre will apply unprecedented science to the essentially artisan Tasmanian industry.

NRM South has developed a blueprint for the sustainable development of barley for whisky, including refining Tasmania’s award-winning barley strains and the state's unique Sense-T network will provide sensing feedback on ideal growing conditions.

Industry leaders believe the project will be a game-changer.

Peter Hope of Redlands Estate said: "We can see that in the future, in the Derwent Valley, it can be a billion-dollar industry. I know that sounds maybe far-fetched, but it's not."

Mr Hope believes that barley – whisky's key ingredient – will one day outstrip poppies as Tasmania's best-paying crop. "In the system we're talking about, barley will be the most profitable crop," he said.

Redlands Estate is yet to sell a bottle of whisky, but it is an ideal location for the Centre of Excellence because it is one of the few distilleries in the world that has fully integrated production, growing its own barley before turning it into malt and, ultimately, whisky.

The Centre's scientists will fine-tune how to grow ideal barley using Sense-T soil monitors and disease-spotting drones to take away the guesswork, whilst NRM South will help ensure that the farming side of the project is a showpiece of sustainability.

Laboratory workers will investigate the flavours that have won world renown for such Tasmanian whiskies as Sullivan's Cove, Lark, Nant and Old Hobart.

Ken Moore of NRM South said the scientists would be checking out the barley grain, the malted barley, the white spirit from distillation and the aged barrel whisky to identify the volatile compounds that determine its flavour.

"It's pretty exciting stuff," he said.



This news article first published in Edtion 152 of Brand Tasmania's e-news, August 2014.

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