WHISKY will start flowing from a new Corowa distillery in October after the whisky and chocolate factory proposal passed its final planning hurdle yesterday.
Directors Neil Druce and Max and Wilma Reid were continuing to supervise a $500,000 conversion of the Corowa Flour Mill as shire councillors meeting a few streets away granted development consent.
NSW Heritage Branch officials had earlier cleared the way for the listed industrial building to be used for a commercial distillery and chocolate sales produced by the partnership’s sister project at Junee.
Mr Druce said the partners had applied to the Australian Taxation Office for consent to manufacture an alcoholic beverage under the Excise Act and he expected approval within six or seven weeks.
“I think we’ll call it Corowa Whisky,’’ he said.
The partners were able to undertake various repairs and improvements without planning consent and much of this work has been completed to the council’s satisfaction.
“The building is in very good condition,’’ Mr Druce said.
Many original features from the 1920s structure have been retained and will form part of the public areas once the mill opens to the public for chocolate sales next month.
Distillery equipment will need to be installed later this year.
Mr Druce said the business would open with a small staff but he expects it would need up to 19 full-time and part-time staff as it grew in popularity.
The partnership estimates it will draw 60,000 visitors a year, relying heavily on coach trips.
The mill will have a sales area, coffee shop, souvenir shop, small function rooms, offices, car parking and toilets.
Corowa director of environmental services Bob Parr said the business would be contained within the existing buildings.
“As such, the integrity and heritage value is maintained,’’ Mr Parr said.
Hours of operation will be 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on weekends.