Whisky Dream Reality

Richard Forsyth's Scottish family have been making great, gleaming copper whisky stills for four generations.

Over that time, they have noticed a pattern.

A group of New Zealanders tours the famous distilleries of Scotland. Before heading home, they drop in to talk about how they might buy a still and start making whisky in New Zealand.

They leave and never come back.

Desiree Whitaker, of Wanaka, did things differently.

And yesterday Mr Forsyth was one of those who cut a tartan ribbon as Mrs Whitaker, her husband Ash and baby son Richie celebrated the official opening of the Cardrona Distillery - New Zealand's only manufacturer of genuine single malt whisky.

Scottish still manufacturer Richard Forsyth cuts the ribbon in front of the distillery.Tributes were paid to Mrs Whitaker's determination to make it happen.

Queenstown Lakes District Council deputy mayor Lyal Cocks described the decision to build the distillery as a bold one that would benefit the district's economy.

"And as a person who is quite partial to a regular dram, I'm sure I will be a supporter of this facility for some time.''

Mrs Whitaker paid tribute to Cardrona Valley identity John Lee, who supported the idea from the beginning, and yesterday cut a tartan ribbon with a pair of sheep shears.

She also paid tribute to her dairy farming parents Alvin and Judy.

Mrs Reid does not drink and Mr Reid is still acquiring a taste for the occasional dram.

Hundreds of other Cardrona Valley residents at the opening yesterday appeared also to be acquiring a taste, although it will be years yet before the distillery's own, matured whisky will be available.