Yack Creek Distillery
Tucked away 2km from the centre of town on a tree-studded slice of heaven that hugs the burbling Yackandandah Creek is a warm, inviting microdistillery producing a prize-winning range of spirits guaranteed to ward off the Winter chills.
Yack Creek Distillery was born on a dazzling stretch of beach facing the turquoise waters of Ningaloo Reef where Jamie Heritage and a mate were musing on ideas for a career move: “I’d always been a fan of whisky and rum and I had always made home brew with dad so opening a distillery seemed like a natural direction to take”, Jamie says.
Six years on, the germ of an idea conceived an entire continent away has evolved into a successful family owned and operated enterprise currently handcrafting an incredible range of excellent spirits including single malt whisky, rum, gin and vodka and 12 different craft beers on tap.
Spirit of place
Jamie and his sister designed the distinctive Yack Creek logo which honours the local Blue Murray Spiny Crayfish found in the clear mountain waters used in the spirits and beers made here. Several of these have won gold and silver medals at Melbourne’s Royal Australian Distilled Spirits Awards where they were also named Champion Victorian Distillery in 2020.
Limber up with a brisk walk following the new trail from town to the distillery garden gate and settle in for a guided tasting. Try a spicy Silk Road Gin or a neat shot of one of Jamie’s seven varieties of whisky, including the gold medal winning, luscious, full-flavoured marmalade-y Single Malt whisky matured in an Apera fortified wine cask.
A Dark & Stormy is another Winter favourite here guaranteed to warm from the inside out. It’s made with a full flavoured Black Strap Rum (another gold medallist!) with its overtones of oranges, honey, liquorice and spices mixed with ginger beer and bitters & lime.
Yack Creek Distillery is now one of a cluster of successful family-run distilleries which have sprung up in recent years in and around Yackandandah and Beechworth, and Jamie couldn’t be happier. Backwoods Distilling Co., makers of sublime, artisinal rye and single malt whiskies are also in Yackandandah and in nearby Wooragee, Barking Owl is doing a fine line in bespoke gin.
In Beechworth, there’s Bilson’s and a little further afield, Glenbosch, joining the 10 or so distilleries now creating a trail across Victoria’s High Country.
“It’s great to have this critical mass because it’s creating a destination. It’s a perfect way to explore the area”, Jamie says.
Mountain bikers exploring the fabulous network of nearby Yack Tracks have already made a regular weekend beeline for Jamie’s microdistillery and those numbers are set to grow exponentially when a new Epic mountain bike trail following the creek from Beechworth to Yackandandah opens in late 2022.