New Zealand craft spirit producer Scapegrace Distilling Company has announced plans for a new $25M distillery in Central Otago.

Reportedly New Zealand’s largest-ever distillery, the development will produce the entirety of Scapegrace’s current portfolio of premium gin and vodka, alongside its soon-to-be released single malt whisky.

Located on Lake Dunstan – 45 minutes from Queenstown, 30 minutes from Wanaka and 10 minutes from Cromwell – the 36 hectare Central Otago parcel overlooks both Lake Dunstan and Mt Pisa.

Founded almost 10 years ago by Wanaka based brothers-in-law Daniel Mclaughlin and Mark Neal along with Richard Bourke, Scapegrace is now distributed in 35 countries.

Managing Director Daniel Mclaughlin says the Central Otago property provides the perfect climate and water quality for producing whisky.

“The 45th parallel (half way point between [the] equator and south pole) runs directly through our distillery site, giving us extremes in hot and cold temperatures – an optimum environment for aging whisky,” he says.

“Naturally the pristine water quality is also ideal for distilling gin and vodka, pulling from glacial run-off from the Southern Alps.”

Construction has commenced on the first building, which contains the new Scapegrace head office, bottling hall, warehouse and the first barrel room, due to be open in August 2022.

Each barrel room holds almost 2000 casks of whisky with three more barrel rooms planned over the coming years.

The second building, which contains the new distillery, opens in October 2023.

The Scapegrace Distillery property plans to open with a substantial food and beverage experience and distillery tour offering. The buildings will be 4500m2 once completed and eventually more than 35 employees will be on site across a mixture of roles.

Scapegrace marketing director and co-founder Mark Neal says they made the decision early on to create a world-leading distillery with sustainability at the forefront.

“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, while the team have decided to look at re-purposed stainless steel tanks, rather than investing in new units.

“Each decision is an incremental step forward in our quest to eventually become carbon neutral and create a property that enhances the region,” he says.

The Scapegrace team is also planning a regenerative planting programme that will see $150,000 worth of native Kanuka replanted on the site.

The Distillery is planned to open to the public in November 2023.

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