Australia’s Hartshorn eyes international opportunities with sheep whey spirits

Hartshorn Distillery is run by sheep milk product specialists Ewenique Enterprises, which also operates sheep cheese firm Grandvewe and personal care firm ewe care.

“The whole spirits operation actually came about in the spirit of sustainability, as we were making cheese from the milk and realising that a lot of the whey was being wasted – so we looked into how we could utilise this and found a really valuable product market opportunity in spirits and craft distillation,”​ Ewenique Enterprises Executive Director Nicole Gilliver told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“We also very much wanted to ensure that we were not doing anything too pedestrian or common, and I don’t think there’s anyone else in the market making sheep whey-based spirits – It’s sort of a weird, unconventional area to innovate in, and that’s a great thing as it also means we don’t have a high amount of competition due to the weirdness.”

Hartshorn has won various awards over the past few years for its vodka, including the Best Varietal Vodka of Australia at the World Vodka Awards for five years in a row (2017 to 2021), the World’s Best Vodka award in 2018, and the Australian Beverage of the Year in 2017.

Now, Gilliver is looking to expand Hartshorn’s horizons and markets in a big way, confident that the quality and uniqueness of the spirits can hold its own in the international arena.

“We’ve got some presence in UK and Japan, and had some other plans before COVID-19 hit – now there’s the opportunity. We’re looking to enter Macau in early 2022, as well as distributing to other markets like Singapore, Hong Kong. and more in South East Asia,”she said.

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