Southlands legendary Hokonui moonshine whisky goes international this month, with 100 cases of the once-illicit brew heading to France legally.
Hokonui moonshine, made famous by Southlands early settlers whose illegal distilling activities gained legendary status, has become the toast of Gore with the Hokonui Moonshine Museum and moonshiners festival.
These days it is legally brewed in South Canterbury by the Southern Distilling Company. The Hokonui product range was based on a handwritten original recipe, from the infamous McRae family, which was on display in the moonshine museum.
Museum director Jim Geddes said yesterday the Southern Distilling Companys export achievement was terrific. Its a great compliment to the whisky and the history that accompanies it, he said. Southern Distilling Company director Malcolm Willmott said the shipment to France would soon be followed by others to the United Kingdom, Norway and Germany.
Product reviews, articles and taste panel results featured in international publications had paved the way for a broad interest in the blended, single malt and liqueur whiskies produced by the company. It confirms our belief that very good whisky can be produced in the south, he said.
Mr Geddes confirmed that the moonshine was likely to be once again brewed in Southland, with plans for a distillery as part of the redevelopment of Gores heritage centre. Discussions with the Southern Distilling Company for a substantial joint venture had been ongoing, he said.
Sonia Gerken, Gore, Southland Times
Submitted by Ian McRae Winton
For more information on Whisky distilling activities by the MacRaes, see Spirit of the MacRaes
in the History