The Distillery

After years of careful planning, our distillery was opened amongst the picturesque snow-capped mountains of the Cardrona valley.

High quality process & ingredients.

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 foraged ingredients to the hand picked oak casks from Spain and America.

  • Water

    Pure alpine water sourced from Mount Cardrona, drawn up through Alvin’s Well, located next to the distillery.
  • Barley

    Laurette variety of barley is one of the few varieties of distillers’ barley tested and approved by the Institute of Brewers and Distillers
  • Yeast

    The yeast variety, Pinnacle, was selected by Desiree for the distinct flavour profile it produces.

Distilling Process

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

  • Pair of Forsyth copper pot stills, a 2,000 litre and a 1,300 litre; 
  • 7.5m Jacob Carl continuous column still; 
  • 7.5m Jacob Carl finishing still; and 
  • 600 litre copper gin still. 

Our distillation process is outlined below.

1. Malting

2. Milling

3. Mashing

4. Fermenting

5. Distilling

6. Maturing

7. Bottling

"Private Cask owners purchase something unique. Together we will allow time to work a magic based on pure alpine water, rich malted barley, traditional copper stills and oak casks that reflect the owners preference for colour, flavours, notes and aromas."
- Kenny Vaugh

"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."

All spent grain (draff) is delivered directly to the deer of Cardrona Valley Farms. The draff truck never touches a sealed road. Spent grain is delivered from the mash tun to a waiting truck; parked on a pad outside the Tun room walls, via auger. That fibre rich, often warm, food source is seasonally supplemented by the ‘Pot ale’ from Roaring Meg.

Pot Ale or what is left behind after the first copper pot distillation is effectively a fermented barley liquid that has been stripped of alcohol. When not being fed to the locals; pot ale can be spread like a fertiliser and provide essential nutrients to aid pasture growth.

The water used to cool the hot wort (sugar-rich barley water) drawn from the Mash tun picks up heat energy in the process. This is not wasted. The warmer water exiting the heat exchanger is directed back to the Hot Liquor Tanks to become second and third waters, terms given to the successive washing of the malt with hot water to extract sugar. Cooling of wort is important as it must arrive at the fermentation vessel at a temperature suitable for fermentation.

Wort is drawn off first and second waters only. The third is used to flood the tun, collect any last remaining sugars, and then collected to become the first water for the following Mash. Energy used to heat the third water is conserved as residue sugars compound and contribute to the next Mash.

Cardrona Distillery utilises its own bore water supply to run the still condensers. Litres of water per minute required to condense vapour to liquid distillate is substantial and fluctuates with changing groundwater temperature throughout the year. On reaching a set temperature, the warmer water exiting shell and tube condensers is directed to an underfloor heating system in the Cellar door and if ever needed, the Barn. It is then sent down the hill to a cooling tank where it cools naturally before returning to the Cardrona River. A substantial draw but one that is borrowed and carefully managed.

Cardrona Distillery’s Logistics Manager Toni Hyslop, feels passionately about getting our spirits to you safely and in a way that doesn’t cost the earth. Toni recently implemented the use of an alternative to bubble wrap that also reduces use of tape. A biodegradable, compostable and recyclable product that sits in a recyclable dispenser and locks in on itself. Its honeycomb structure is strong and aesthetically beautiful! This is just one example of ways that the Team are looking to continuously improve practices and protect our future.