Until April 1, 2016 Kiwi Spirit Distillery operated out of the Schnapp Dragon Distillery in Golden Bay. The new distillery is still in Takaka at the agave plantation, located at the northern most reaches of the south island of New Zealand between two spectacular National Parks, the Abel Tasman National Park and the Kahurangi National Park.
The area has for a long time attracted creative and free thinking individuals and is renowned for stunning golden sand beaches, thriving arts, and astonishing natural beauty. In the heart of the bay, nestled down a lane off the main street of the quaint town of Takaka, you will come across our unique distillery. It all began in a beloved old building, lovingly restored by owner, Terry Knight. Due to growth, a new purpose built distillery will share much of the same charm as the original building.
From humble beginnings to adventurous enterprising, Knight has developed a range of world class, hand crafted products including Waitui Honey Malt Whiskey, Murderer's Bay Gold Rum, Tangelo and Lime Liqueurs, Fruit Schnapps, and "Silver Cloud" - New Zealand's first Blue Agave Spirit. These artisan products use only the finest ingredients and mana filled water from the Te Waikoropupu aquifer.
We invite you to sample our fantastic range of products and discover for yourself the goodness that comes in a glass. We prefer ours mostly over ice.
Terry started his working career as a carpenter in Christchurch, taking off for his OE before then settling in Golden Bay 35 years ago. He was the visionary co owner and builder of the Awaroa Lodge in the early 1990’s, one of first, real wilderness eco lodges in New Zealand. Terry managed and developed the lodge over 10 years to become an icon of the regions tourism market before selling.
From there he began making honey mead with his cousin and developing Le Champs de Miel, a honey bubbly and a world first for a methode traditionalle from honey. Then the sky rocketing cost of manuka honey dealt to that business. Through this time Terry had been working with The Old South Pacific Distillery in Nelson making the first whiskey ‘experiments’ while learning and developing the art of distillation. From there, with knowledge and lessons learned in 2006, he set up the Schnapp Dragon Distillery in Takaka along with his partner Rachel Raine.
For the last 12 years, Terry Knight and Rachel Raine of Kiwi Spirit Distillery in Takaka have been using the simple ingredients of malted barley, peat, honey and water from the Te Waikoropupu aquifer (locally known as PuPu Springs) to make their distinctive Waitui single honey malt whiskey. Distilled from a malt mash using an ancient Chatham Island peat in the process, only small batches of the 40% spirit is produced, which is then stored for a minimum of four years in old Manuka Honey Wine oak barrels before hand labeling and bottling.
"No malt blends or additives, only honey malt", explains Terry; “Although a lot of distilleries don’t allude to it, honey has long been used for refining whiskey. The delicate oak gives our whiskey its ‘weight’ but the distilled malt and aging in Manuka honey mead barrels delivers an almost toffee taste that’s in perfect balance with the malt.”
TeKiwi's production plant "Kiwi Spirit Distillery" distinctly Golden Bay range goes beyond their Waitui Whisky and are becoming famous for their citrus liqueurs, honey and fruit wines, and a range of boozy fruits, all from fruit harvested locally from bio grow orchards or spray free citrus groves. Terry Knight says the inspiration for his overall operation came from a trip around Europe. “Every village seemed not only to have a small distillery that processed excess fruit in the area into wines, spirits and liqueurs, but its facilities were often used as a processing centre by the wider community for turning their excess crops into specialized food products. This business model could work well for many New Zealand towns.”
Their main distillation equipment is a high quality German pot still with all the bells and whistles. They also have an the original 130 liter copper pot still, and out the back is a three-metre high 200 litre all glass triple distillation still.
From eco roots and the quest for a healthier life and environment their work began to develop “Drinks for the health conscious drinkers among us.” Then began the research of the old ways - of gathering the fresh fruit and honey flavors of the land around us. Schnapp Dragon Distillery has been sold and Kiwi Spirit Distillery has taken up from there and is now proud to present its new Brand Child - the TeKiwi range.
"Silver Cloud" - New Zealand's first Blue Agave Spirit. This amazing spirit receives the special treatment. Here you'll watch how each Blue Agave Spirit bottle is hand-blown. Yes- they are all different, but the 'blanco' inside is the same mind-blowing spirit. You really do need to add a bottle to your collection- they are strictly LIMITED-EDITION and hand numbered and signed.
Kiwi Spirit Distillery: Adults only (18+)
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