A Tassie partnership for change
David and Liz Hunn of Hunnington Distillery and Deadman’s Point Spirits talk about their exponential rise in the distilling world, and the strong ‘don’t drink and drive’ message behind our partnership.
They only started distilling in 2017, yet the quality of their whisky, gins and vodkas is far beyond their years. Just past Kettering Yacht Club, overlooking Trial Bay and beyond, stands the quiet, self-built home of David and Liz Hunn. The property is surrounded by a large, well-kept garden, featuring many of the types of trees and plants that can produce ingredients for distilling – which they put to good use.
An open cellar door experience means, on arrival, Scip (dog and Head of Security) welcomes you and announces your arrival. From there, David and Liz take you to their tasting table, set amongst sandstone walls, an inbuilt fireplace and hanging vines, which provide welcome shade on a sunny day.
Despite only just meeting the couple, their friendly nature combined with graceful hosting instantly make you feel as comfortable as if you were visiting a neighbour or old friend.
Their motivation to enter the world of distilling formed as any new business should – with a passion for the product and a yearning to try something new. And as needed in any relationship, this start-up also required compromise. Their dual-use shed, perfect for a distilling start-up, meant Liz giving up her half of the space; in return, she asked for a better gin than she could find anywhere else, and so it began.
“You’ve got Kettering Bay, Trial Bay, and Deadman’s Point, I’d name it Deadman’s Point”.
When revealing to their kids they were embarking on this new journey, they were met with excitement, followed by questions like: “What are you going to name it?” Full of confidence they would approve of the name Hunnington, after which their kids had originally named their house, they were met with “that’s the most boring name I’ve ever heard”. Stunned, David replied: “What would you name it then?”
Their son pointed out, “You’ve got Kettering Bay, Trial Bay, and Deadman’s Point, I’d name it Deadman’s Point”.
Accepting defeat, they compromised, naming their white spirits after the nearby location.
It was David’s nervous first barrel that put them on the map. Liz, who had recently rediscovered her talent and love for art, had painted Bill Lark – founder of Lark Distillery – as her entry for the Archibald Prize, and now Bill had also agreed to tasting David’s first whisky.
David sat nervously as Bill sniffed, sipped and took notes. Bill eventually revealed just how good this batch was, his tasting notes ending with, “it makes you want to lick your own tongue”.
On Bill’s advice, they submitted their brew to the World Whisky Bible, where they scored a 91 out of 100. David revealed a few of their secrets: their clean, crisp water, the southerly salty air blown in, and the extreme variations in temperature the barrel experiences.
Whilst the whisky is currently sold out, soon it will be available again as a limited edition, featuring RACT 100-year branding and strong messaging on being responsible while drinking.
David and Liz say it was important that they were partnering with a Tasmanian brand, and it was RACT’s standing as an organisation that convinced them to go ahead with the partnership.
Because of the known correlation between alcohol and dangerous driving, the partnership between Hunnington and RACT has led to what is believed to be the first drink driving warning on a bottle of spirits.
“We know alcohol is a part of our culture, but through the inclusion of a warning label on these bottles, we’re ensuring people are educated on the dangers at the point of consumption, and really putting the warning in front of people,” RACT’s Chief Advocacy Officer, Garry Bailey, said.
“It’s our hope that this new warning will become an industry standard, and as commonplace on alcohol products as the labels on the dangers of alcohol and pregnancy.”