The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES KITTO

A THREE mil­lion dol­lar plan for a new dis­tillery and cel­lar door at New Nor­folk’s Wil­low Court precinct is set to give the lo­cal econ­omy a nip.

The lo­cally owned New Nor­folk Dis­tillery, which will cre­ate up to 20 jobs in the Der­went Val­ley once op­er­a­tional, is seek­ing to bring “new life” to the his­tor­i­cal Wil­low Court.

Dis­tillery di­rec­tor Justin Derk­sen said the idea to cre­ate Tas­ma­nia’s first rum dis­tillery in more than 150 years came from a de­sire to see a pos­i­tive change in New Nor­folk and show­case what the re­gion has to of­fer.

“Liv­ing and work­ing in New Nor­folk, our fam­ily has strong ties to the re­gion and we are re­ally ex­cited about the prospect of bring­ing a new business to the area that we hope both lo­cals and vis­i­tors will en­joy year­round,” Mr Derk­sen said.

“Adding to the growth of Tas­ma­nia’s bou­tique spirit in­dus­try, we plan to pro­duce a spiced and aged rum along with a su­gar­cane spirit.

“Our project in­cludes a dis­tillery and cel­lar door as well as a bar and func­tion cen­tre.”

The pro­posal for a new dis­tillery at Wil­low Court comes just days af­ter two peo­ple were charged over a fire which tore through neigh­bour­ing build­ings within the precinct.

Project ar­chi­tect Thomas Bai­ley said the dis­tillery would bring new life to Wil­low Court and add to the cre­ation of a new, pos­i­tive history in the Der­went Val­ley.

“By adding to the bones of the ex­ist­ing fab­ric of the build­ing we hope to stay true to the history of Wil­low Court, while also draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from the site and sur­round­ing land­scape to gen­er­ate light­ness and joy,” Mr Bai­ley said.

Mr Derk­sen, who also owns a New Nor­folk con­struc­tion business, said three ap­pren­tice builders would be em­ployed dur­ing the dis­tillery’s con­struc­tion phase.

The an­nounce­ment fol­lows a Der­went Val­ley em­ploy­ment re­port by the Tas­ma­nian Coun­cil of So­cial Ser­vice in May, which showed about 30 per cent of a num­ber of res­i­dents sur­veyed said there was a lack of jobs in the re­gion.

Main pic­ture: FIONA HARD­ING;

SHOT GUNS: New Nor­folk Dis­tillery di­rec­tor Justin Derk­sen, left, and project ar­chi­tect Thomas Bai­ley from Room 11 Ar­chi­tects at the site of the pro­posed dis­tillery and cel­lar door at Wil­low Court; be­low, artist’s im­pres­sions of the com­pleted fa­cil­ity.

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