After dairy farming for several years, a South Island couple decided to branch out and pursue their dream to produce locally-made artisan spirits.
Our Character of the Country this week comes from the Cardrona Valley in Wanaka, and is one half of the power couple who began Cardrona Distillery.
Ash Whitaker and his wife Desiree own and operate Cardrona Distillery, making hand-crafted whiskey, gin, vodka and liqueurs.
It was Desiree's dream to produce a product that would allow a connection with the end user. The idea of a distillery continued to come up, and the rest is history.
Ash got on board with the idea, eventually selling his business to get involved.
"I said I'll come in with you on one condition, we make a gin as well," Mr Whitaker told Rural Exchange.
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Watch the full interview with Ash Whitaker above.