Vodka produced by Tasmania’s Hartshorn Distillery has won World Vodka of the Year at the World Vodka Awards in London.
The accolade is a wonderful achievement for the young business, which had already gained two other international awards this year.
Its Sheep Whey Vodka won Best Varietal Vodka of Australia at the World Vodka Awards 2018 for the second time in a row and its Sheep Whey Gin won gold at the International Gin Awards 2018.
Hartshorn Distillery is the first company in the world to craft spirits from sheep whey – not a small feat for head distiller Ryan Hartshorn, who won Tasmania’s Young Innovator of the Year in 2017.
One of the smallest distilleries in Australia, Hartshorn Distillery makes 80 bottle batches of spirits using a 200L glass column still at Birchs Bay.
Mr Hartshorn said he was shocked to have won world acclaim.
“It was always a goal of mine to win this award however I did not think it would happen this quickly,” Mr Hartshorn said.
“I already have a very busy year ahead with some great product ideas and this award has made it even more so in a good way.
I think I will need to take up yoga to reduce my stress levels.
“I am very appreciative of the award but weirdly my first thought was not to celebrate but to begin thinking what my next steps are with this award in regards to all other projects I have in the fire right now.”
Mr Hartshorn said all Hartshorn Distillery sheep whey spirits were crafted to perfection and were unfiltered for a drink that had character and complexity.
As well as being a world class distiller, Hartshorn is also part-owner in the family sheep cheese business Grandvewe.
To take advantage of the whey discarded in the cheese making process, Mr Hartshorn bought a still and taught himself how to convert sheep whey into alcohol.
It was not a fast or easy process, especially when seeking the right enzyme needed to break down the whey proteins.