New Zealand Whisky

Amidst a lengthy period of inactivity, the New Zealand whisky scene had lain dormant until a noteworthy resurgence breathed life back into it. When you think of exceptional whiskies and their origins, New Zealand might not leap to the forefront of your mind. Other renowned places like Ireland, Scotland, and perhaps the United States often take center stage. Yet, beneath the surface, New Zealand's whisky history unveils a remarkable and thriving culture that once flourished.



New Zealand's foray into whisky making began in the 1830's when Scottish settlers arrived in the country. With many of them choosing to settle down in the Otago region in the South Island, whisky found it's unlikely home in the small towns of Dunedin, Oamaru and even Gore.

The new New Zealand whisky industry was flourishing, so much so that Scottish banks were becoming wary of NZ's rising whisky popularity. The banks agreed to fund the country’s railways on the proviso that the government outlawed local distilling. Thus, from the 1870's the country's whisky industry was shut down.


In the early 2000s, there was a renewed interest in whisky production in New Zealand. A few dedicated individuals and companies took up the challenge of reviving the country’s whisky industry, either by starting new distilleries or purchasing and refurbishing the old ones.

New Distilleries:

Several new distilleries emerged, particularly on the South Island, known for its pure water sources and favourable climate for aging whisky. Some notable names include The Cardrona Distillery, the Hokonui Moonshine Museum (now producing whisky), and The New Zealand Whisky Collection.

Awards and Recognition:

Over time, New Zealand whiskies gained international recognition for their quality and unique flavour profiles. Some expressions from the country have won awards at prestigious whisky competitions, further boosting the reputation of the industry.

Craftsmanship and Innovation:

Many New Zealand distilleries focused on small-batch, handcrafted production methods, emphasising quality over quantity. Some experimented with unique cask types and maturation techniques, contributing to the diversity of their whisky offerings.

Limited Supply and High Demand:

Due to the relatively small number of distilleries and the time required for whisky to mature, New Zealand whiskies often had limited availability. As a result, some releases became highly sought after by whisky enthusiasts and collectors.

Some of our favourite New Zealand whisky brands:

Thomson Whisky

Cardrona Distillery

Waiheke Whisky

Pokeno Whisky

The New Zealand Whisky Collection