Distiller Chris Condon and quality controller Angus the Westie wonder dog. Picture: Hilary Burden, Tasmanian Country Hour.

Launceston Distillery has taken flight with the official launch of the first traditional whisky produced in the northern region since distillation was outlawed more than 170 years ago.

The distillery, based at Hangar 17 at Launceston Airport, was formed in 2011 by head distiller Chris Condon.

Mr Condon, a former pharmaceutical industry quality analyst and brewing team leader at Boags Brewery, was also the first distiller at Nant Distillery – laying the foundations for that company’s early success between 2008 and 2011.

He joined forces with Rob Carroll, Chris Byrne, Ilya Brucksch-Domanski, and Peta Dolan in 2011 to establish Launceston Distillery –  the first distillery in Northern Tasmania to be granted a production license since the Distillation Prohibition Act of 1839.

“The official launch is a proud moment for the directors who have shown a lot of faith in myself to design a distillery that will create consistent batches of whisky that epitomise quality,” Mr Condon said.

“We have been passionate about creating a whisky that pays homage to the best traditional whisky from Scotland but also captures the essence of Tasmania.”

Mr Condon said that while there had been two new distillery’s built to make whisky in the area recently, Launceston Distillery was proud to have laid the foundation for returning whisky making to the north.

“I could see there was a gap in the Tasmanian Whisky Trail with really exciting things happening in Hobart and on the North West so it made sense to create a distillery in the heart of Tasmania to build the state’s reputation as a respected producer of premium traditional whisky,” he said.

Launceston Distillery produces a number of varieties matured in bourbon, port and apera (sherry) casks and will soon be launching a number of releases that will raise money for local charities and organisations.

In the process of creating the distillery they have given new life to the disused Hangar 17, which has played a significant role in the country’s aviation history as home to Australian National Airways and Ansett.

Mr Condon is accompanied on his whisky-making journey by the distillery’s mascot, Angus the Westie wonder dog, who ensures the final product is perfect.