The Thomson Whisky Distillery is located in Riverhead, North West of Auckland. Founded in 2014, it’s our “spiritual home” and where we mash and distill. We’ll be open for visitors some time in the future, but right now we are a production distillery, focused on getting our hands dirty and making the best spirit we can.
HARDWARE: Our traditional copper pot still was hand beaten in Europe before roaring into life in 2014. We extended the column to create a lighter spirit and give greater copper contact.
WATER: Local rainwater
BARLEY: 100% New Zealand grown malted barley, from Canterbury, South Island.
YEAST: We use Ale yeasts normally used for craft beer as we champion flavour over greater yield.
WOOD: American oak, Ex-NZ red wine barrels (Syrah & Malbec), European oak. We utilise a range of sizes, including some minis.
PEAT: Sourced from the South Island of New Zealand, made from our unique environment. The peat is dried and burnt to introduce smoke to the barley during the malting process.
MANUKA: Native Manuka wood, used to smoke the barley in our Manuka Smoke single malt in the same way that peat is used.
Just a handful of ingredients form the basis of the single malt whisky we distill. Our Craft credentials are real because we make single malt whisky from scratch, by hand, using traditional methods for contemporary ends – it’s all about a passion for the spirit, creativity, and respect for the process.
We mash our grain with hot water and elbow grease, just as our forefathers did, and don’t use malt extract, sweeteners, colours or flavours. Once the wash has fermented out we distill it twice through our copper still. During the second distillation we take spirit from the ‘middle cut’ which is the heart of the run – it’s this middle cut that is aged in oak and becomes Thomson Whisky. We mature our whiskies in a range of casks including ex-bourbon barrels, NZ red wine casks and some miniatures. We sample these regularly, and bottle them as we see fit.
As one of only a few commercial distilleries in New Zealand we’re proud to be contributing to the craft distilling movement in our home country. We can also say with pride we are 100% NZ owned and operated.