Cardrona Distillery, Cardrona

#4 of 10 in Breweries & Distilleries in Otago Region
Must see · Distillery · Food & Drink
The Cardrona Distillery is an artisan Single Malt distillery nestled high in the Cardrona Valley between Wanaka and Queenstown, New Zealand. We believe in using time-honoured traditional methods of hand-crafting spirits from malted barley. All of our spirits are made from scratch, starting with just malted barley, water, and yeast. Our barley is traditional Scottish two-row distillers malt; essential for making great Single Malt. Our water is from the highest alpine pass in New Zealand and embeds the character of our land into our spirits.

The Cardrona Distillery dream was first dreamt by our founder, Desiree Whitaker (nee Reid), nearly 17 years ago. As a tender 20 year-old Desiree left New Zealand with all her worldly possessions on her back to explore the world. She travelled far and wide; the Scottish Highlands where she learnt the pleasures of Single Malt Whisky. Desiree backpacked through Eastern Europe for the rich tradition of Vodka, and down into Italy for her culinary education. Her appetite grew for all things spirituous. Artisan spirits made all from scratch.

Thirteen years later, Desiree was a successful, self-made woman back home in New Zealand. But the lure of her dream beckoned. Desiree once again packed her bags, and headed out into the World. For next two years she learnt her trade from some of the world’s most renowned Master Distillers, and retraced her steps back to the distilleries from the Highlands of Scotland and onwards to the Blue Grass meadows of Kentucky, to the windy streets of Chicago and everywhere in between. In May 2013 she put a mark in the sand and decided to make her dream a reality. Desiree sold all she had and set out to find the site for her distillery at Cardrona, New Zealand.

Desiree chose the Cardrona Valley for its water; sourced from the highest alpine pass in New Zealand, and pure mountain air for maturing spirit. The distillery design was drawn from the very best that she had seen; inspired by the simple double floored distillery layout of Woodford Reserve, the windows from Glenlivet and the boil ball stills from Glenfarclas, made by fourth generation coppersmiths in Scotland.

The Cardrona Distillery stands today, a testament to one woman’s dream, her family’s love and a whole community’s work and support. Traditional vodka, with true character from its Single Malt roots. Delicious liqueurs and a rich, round Single Malt still sleeping and maturing, all from the World’s most Southerly Distillery.
Work out when and for how long to visit Cardrona Distillery and other Cardrona attractions using our handy Cardrona trip planner.
Create an itinerary including Cardrona Distillery
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors

Cardrona Distillery reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
230 reviews
  • My partner and I really enjoyed this beautiful tour. Not only is the location stunning, the people here are local hard working and passionate owners. The knowledge and experience really shows in...  more »
  • We did the first tour of the day, our guide was great, learning about the process was really informative and interesting, the smell of the barrels was so good, the tasting was great.  more »
  • We had a amazing experience here, wondering around the grounds, getting a detailed tasting of the drinks on offer. Knowledgeable staff explained a great deal about the process and the products. I left with several bottles! Even if you don’t drink gin or vodka It’s worth a visit because the grounds are beautiful.
  • Absolutely stellar quality and spirits. John walked us through the vodka, gins, and liquers which were each very impressive. The vodka was smooth, the original gin paired perfectly with tonic, and John even performed a magic trick by revealing how the butterscotch liquer’s flavor could be altered with a hunk of lemon. We were so thrilled that we bought two bottles.

Plan your trip to Cardrona

  • Get a personalized trip
    A complete day by day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it
    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.