Whisky has long been a comforting companion during the winter months. But these days, you don’t need to visit Scotland or Ireland to warm yourself up with some of the world’s finest.

Tasmania’s globally renowned whisky distilleries are the perfect destination for an Off Season getaway. The island’s 70-plus producers offer a range of tours, tastings and bespoke experiences, catering to everyone from the whisky curious to the connoisseur. You could even plan your trip around Tasmanian Whisky Week, the seven-day whisky-soaked festival of events and tours held annually across the state in early August. For some tips on where to start and what to see, here’s a self-guided whisky tour from north to south that will introduce you to some of Tasmania’s top distilleries.

King Island Distillery, King Island – Spirited Brunch

Even the islands off Tasmania – including the stunningly rugged King Island to the north-west, in Bass Strait – boast distilleries.
King Island Distillery was founded by local Heidi Weitjens in 2014 and has been producing creative spirits and liqueurs ever since, from whiskies to ruby-grapefruit vodka and limoncello made with local lemons and limes. This winter, Weitjens is inviting guests to a spirits tasting and brunch at her distillery to show how this local operation takes advantage of the island’s produce. Think eggs Benedict infused with King Island gin, itself distilled with botanicals foraged on the island. While there, look out for the Distiller Choice single malt, which is matured in a charred Pedro Ximenez sherry cask and cut with King Island Cloud Juice, the island’s famed bottled rainwater.

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Alchymia Distillery, Table Cape - Behind Closed Doors tour and tasting

Northern Tasmania is home to some of the state’s finest whisky producers, and Alchymia Distillery, in the north-west – run by husband-and-wife team Matt and Sarah Packwood-Hollings – is the latest up-and-comer. The pair relocated to the island state from McLaren Vale in 2016, leaving their corporate roles and setting up a distillery in a 150-year-old shed. Now they produce small-batch, low-waste whisky, gin and vodka in their copper pot-belly still “Joyce”, and nine-plate column still “Muriel”.This Off Season, Alchymia is giving guests a chance to enter its bond store for a behind-the-scenes tour and tasting. Three handcrafted single malt whiskies will be poured from the cask and matched with local-produce-driven small bites. Be sure to book ahead.

Turner Stillhouse, Tamar Valley – Smoke Cocktail Masterclass

With an enviable location overlooking the Tamar River, Turner Stillhouse is another northern distillery to put on your radar. Its award-winning gin is made from a grape base, with a blend of native Tasmanian and imported botanicals, and water sourced from the nearby kanamaluka (River Tamar). In 2019 the distillery added a whisky still, and its range is due for release soon. In the meantime, it offers whisky enthusiasts the chance to design (and purchase) their own personalised whisky as part of its Buy the Barrel program. Or for a spirited detour, try the Smoke Cocktail Masterclass, which includes two warming winter cocktails, plus take-home recipe cards and an engraved glass.

Launceston Distillery, Launceston – Fill your own bottle of whisky

In 2013, Launceston Distillery became the first traditional whisky maker to gain a production licence in Launceston since the Tasmanian government banned distilling more than 180 years ago. Today, it produces some of the state’s leading single malt whiskies. The distillery operates out of Launceston Airport’s historic Hangar 17 – the oldest remaining aviation building in Tasmania – so a stopover after your flight is both convenient and delicious.
On your next visit, you can jump into guided tours and tastings and fill your own 100-millilitre bottle of whisky from a special Off Season cask. Once you’ve sealed, registered and labelled your bottle, good luck not opening it for the rest of the trip.

Waubs Harbour Distillery, Bicheno – Whisky by the Waves distillery experience

Newcomer Waubs Harbour Distillery, launched in 2023, sits on the rocky shoreline of Bicheno, two hours’ drive southeast of Launceston on the east coast. The salt-battered site, originally an old oyster hatchery, has been transformed into one of Tasmania’s must-visit whisky distilleries. Head distiller Rob Polmear – a marine scientist who comes to the project from Hobart’s acclaimed Lark Distillery – leans into the maritime location for his single malts, using coastal peat and water from the nearby Apsley River, as well as an ocean-run cooling system. During June and July, the Waubs team is bringing you a wintry dusk experience in the sea air. As night falls, be guided through a flight of Waubs single malt whiskies and a local tasting plate by a warming fire.

7K Distillery, New Norfolk – Taste and tour a whisky and gin house

Although 7K Distillery is in the process of shifting locations from Hobart, you can pop into its new tasting house in New Norfolk while its distillery is still being built. The venue is 30 minutes’ drive north from the city alongside a picturesque section of the River Derwent – the perfect place to stave off the winter chill. Find out how 7K’s sought-after single malts are made using the founder’s hand-built copper pot still, or taste its range of gins, which run from traditional styles right through to raspberry- and chilli-infused creations.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Tourism Tasmania. Embrace the Off Season and explore more wild, weird and wonderful experiences in Tasmania this winter.