SANDY GRAY DISTILLERY
When it comes to Tasmanian micro whisky distilleries, Sandy Gray is probably the most micro of them all, occupying space in the garage/shed (?) at the home of one of the owners, Neil Gray. This is tucked away in the residential area of Spreyton, on the Cradle Coast in north-west Tasmania.
The name Sandy Gray was taken in memory of Neil’s late father, Dr Alexander ‘Sandy’ Gray, who emigrated to Tasmania with his family in 1967 as a general practitioner and who served the people of his community of Evandale for some 20 years. Sandy hailed from Aberdeen, the hometown of one of the two directors of MyWhiskyJourneys and a place long associated with whisky making as the original home of Chivas Regal and the gateway city to the many fine malt whisky distilleries in the north east of Scotland, particularly in Speyside. That same director took with him on a return journey to Scotland in 2019 a sample of the Sandy Gray make to deliver to Gordon and MacPhail in Elgin, Scotland’s premier whisky merchants and bottlers. And so, in a way, the spirit of Sandy Gray returned from whence it came!
Neil is partnered in this new-lease-of-life enterprise, set up in 2016, by an old friend from their shared guitar-playing misspent youth, Bob Connor. The latter tends to look after the business side of the partnership, whilst Neil tends to the still, but both play a part in the creation of the end product.
The still is almost of hobby-like proportions at 25 L capacity, but as the casks they fill are only 20 L there is a certain synergy there. Whilst the first three releases sold out within weeks of their appearance, more whisky is promised as other barrels mature and there may one day be an increase in capacity if a new, larger still is installed which is all part of the Sandy Gray forward plan. Meanwhile, gin has become a secondary activity producing some interesting successes in that highly competitive world, including a gold medal for their Artisan Small Batch Gin at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition.