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.
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.