The Distillery


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Grain to glass approach

Cardrona does not cut corners. From the barley varietal, the grind of the mill and the size of the mash tun to the temperature of the alpine water, every step of the process is integral to forming the character of the spirit and has been meticulously thought out.

The Distillery has designed its craft process around the deep single malt traditions, starting from scratch with malted barley to create a genuine artisan premium spirit, a rarity in the spirits industry.

Every aspect of Cardrona’s products is of the highest quality, from the pure Cardrona Valley alpine water, the rich malted barley and the locally foraged ingredients to the hand picked oak casks from Spain and America.
Cardrona spirit starts with the very best of ingredients, water, malted barley and yeast.

Key Ingredients

In Cardrona Spirits


Our water is drawn from Alvin’s well, named after Desiree’s father who built the well. Alvin’s well is fed by the flanks of Mount Cardrona itself. The water is sweet and plentiful – the first ingredient in making great spirits.  


The King of Grains - Cardrona’s barley is grown on the rich Canterbury plains, and then malted to Cardrona’s exacting standards. The malted barley is milled on site at Cardrona and then combined with Cardrona water in a Forsyth lauter mash tun.


The wort is slowly drawn off where the final ingredient, distiller’s yeast is added, and the magic of fermentation begins. From these early stages the distillery and the landscape stamp its character permanently into the spirit. Our fermentation is long, more than 70 hours, allowing the spirit's character to develop fully formed, before being captured in Cardrona's curiously small copper pot stills.

The Cardrona


Cardrona’s spirits are distilled using copper stills and all natural ingredients. The still house is home to five stills:

  1. Roaring Meg & Gentle Annie - A Pair of Forsyth copper pot stills, a 2,000 litre and a 1,300 litre;
  2. JC1 - a 7.5m Jacob Carl continuous column still;
  3. JC2 - a 7.5m Jacob Carl finishing still; and
  4. Pretty Betty - a 600 litre copper gin still.

Our distillation process is outlined below;

Milling | Mashing | Fermenting | Distilling | Maturing | Bottling  

Our Casks: The heart of the spirit is filled into seasoned oak casks, sourced from the best producers in the world. Ex-Oloroso sherry butts from Jerez in the south of Spain, ex-Bourbon barrels from Kentucky, in the US, and ex-Pinot noir barriques from Central Otago, NZ.

Made with Care

Attention to detail

At Cardrona Distillery we take extreme pride in our approach to making spirits and our respect for our raw materials and the land. We have a deep connection to the land and the people that have farmed the land for generations. We are immensely proud of what we've created, our distillery is the result of years of research and hard work, resulting in beautifully crafted spirits made from scratch on site.