Yackandandah venture Backwoods Distilling Co will soon launch its Founders' Club

A NEW craft whisky and spirits distillery is in the pipeline in the North East.

Leigh and Bree Attwood started Backwoods Distilling Co. near Yackandandah during 2017 to focus on single malt and rye whisky.

Last month they barreled their first signature malt whisky, which will now undergo the two-year maturation process.

Mr Attwood, who is also the head distiller, said it was very satisfying to reach this stage after two years of research and development.

“Even at this stage you get a real sense of what the spirit will be like,” he said.

“It followed two years of hard work; there were lots of high-fives and dancing around.”

Having both grown up around Myrtleford before moving away, the couple returned to the North East about 18 months ago with their sons Nate, 7, and Ted, 4.

Mr and Ms Attwood, a school teacher and communications officer respectively, researched and developed their business on weekends.

“We both love whisky,” Ms Attwood said.

“But it was the process of it that really drew us to it as a business.”

Mr Attwood teamed up with Griffith distiller and fabricator Mark Burns to make their copper pot still, affectionately termed Stillvester Stillone.

They designed the 1200L Stillvester to create a spirit that is both complex and smooth.

They use barley and rye grain sourced from artisan maltsers in the Riverina, Barellan-based Voyager Craft Malt.

Ms Attwood said they would have a couple of other offerings in the pipeline due for release later this year.

She said they would have a rye whisky available for the end of the year.

“We are also working on a distilled honey product, Apiary Spirit,” she said.

Mr Attwood said Backwoods Distilling would launch its Founders’ Club this month, spurred by interest in the venture.

“We had so many people offer their support and requests for pre-orders of our whisky, that we created the Founders’ Club as an affordable way for people to invest in our distillery and be an important part of the start-up and beyond,” he said.

Limited to 250, members would get a 500ml bottle of whisky from the first-release cask, expected to be ready for bottling in 2020, and a 500ml bottle of Backwoods White Rye during the first year of membership.

Other Founders’ Club benefits include merchandise, event invites and chances to influence product development.

The distillery is not open to the public but the Star Hotel Yackandandah will serve as a cellar door in future.

Backwoods refers to a wooded area located away from big cities and the influence of modern life; a place you can go to escape and experience something different.