ROARING FORTIES SPIRITS
NELSON, NEW ZEALAND
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
Walking along the coast of the Tasman Bay one sunny day in
Nelson, New Zealand, we came across an interesting and well kept building
from the early 1900's. "South Pacific Distillery, Roaring Forties
Spirits", the sign read. Intrigued, as we have never visited a spirit
distillery before, we went inside.
ROARING FORTIES DISTILLERY
Upon entering, to meet us was Brian Hetzel, Director of this
enterprise. Asking if he wouldn't mind showing us around, he only hesitated
for a moment before warming up to the idea.
He began by explaining that this particular building was sitting on
reclaimed land pulled from the cliffs above and pushed out. The building,
formerly Anchor Shipping, was built from 1927-1929 and because it was
concrete reinforced, it survived the 1928 earthquake, when many buildings
Pushing aside a set of double wooden doors, we arrived in an
immaculate, well organized, albeit modest, distillery with gleaming copper
pots. Irresistible to us for photos, we snapped his picture. Brian
explained that the South Pacific Distillery was currently a one man
operation and that he distills in the traditional method, using these
copper pots. He went on to describe how he puts molasses and water into a
tank, heats it up for the warm fermentation process and adds regenerated
yeast, which takes the musty flavor out. After a certain amount of time,
he then takes 10% of the yeast out to place in a suspended state for
future use. Continuing with the fermentation process, he brings the
temperature down and controls it, allowing it to ferment for 6 days.
His rum is then casked in French oak casks for up to 5 years, depending
on which rum it is. These French oak barrels are evidence of both
commitment and quality, as they run $1800 NZ each. However, this care and
attention is rewarded and noticed, as his Roaring Forties Dark Rum
received a Bronze medal in the Rum Fest 2000 Barbados BWI competition.
Surely a hat's off to Brian's efforts, this Dark Rum is his best seller.
After our tour, we were invited for a tasting, which we
eagerly accepted. The award winning Dark Rum was rich and full bodied,
with a warm flavor that opened in the mouth. The Rum Over proof was a bit
more brash, however, since it was single casked, not blended, one could
definitely taste the fine oak wood.
FRENCH OAK BARRELS
There at the Distillery, he offers for sale his award winning Dark Rum,
an Over proof Rum, Vodka, Gin, and several flavors of Schnapps. He even
makes a "Johnny Reb" Bourbon, aged in new charred white American
oak barrels, which distinguishes it as an "American
Quite pleased and warmed by our tastings of rum, we purchased a bottle
of the Dark Rum and also one of his Gin, which boasts that in the
distilling process "only fresh botanicals" are used.
The Roaring Forties, as any sailor would know, are the 40 degree south
latitude seas which circle the globe. These seas are powerful and for many
thousands of miles, unobstructed. When they finally do reach a land mass,
they are relentless and dangerous. A fitting nomenclature for his
If you are in Nelson, New Zealand, and are looking for
something a little different to tour, try the Roaring Forties South
Located at 258 Wakefield Quay
P.O. Box 1359
or email him at: email@example.com