The Gin Man

Even if you are a gin sceptic, 'The Source' will change your mind. This complex spirit is bold, enjoyable and always surprising.

Meet Ash Whitaker co-owner of the Cardrona Distillery and “Guardian of The Source” whose passion for this particular drop, has seen the creation of a gin that is fast gaining both international awards and passionate fans.

Name and Occupation

 Ash Whitaker, owner of the Cardrona Distillery and “Guardian of The Source”


Tell us what you do in 50 words or less

We make great spirits.
Our “The Source” Gin, “the reid” Vodka & Fruit Liqueurs are all made from scratch on site at our distillery in Cardrona.

How long have you been in Wanaka and why did you move here?

I moved to Wanaka in November 2013 and met my now-wife a while later.  I moved here to start my own business but life changed tack as Desiree and I joined forces. We built the distillery in 2015, bringing custom made copper pot stills and equipment from Scotland, and installing two 7.5m column stills from Germany. The first spirit ran from the stills in October that year, and in 2016 we won a Gold Medal at the New York World Wine and Spirits Competition for our “The Source” Rosehip Gin

Best part of living in Wanaka

I love the lake. We get out on the boat every chance we get – which is not as often as we would like

What are your favourite things to do in Wanaka?

The village watering holes are second to none, in my opinion.  A Source and tonic overlooking the lake – there is no better place to be in the world.

What is the secret to distilling a world class spirit?

The secret to distilling and maturing great spirit is using the very best all-natural ingredients and equipment. At the Cardrona Distillery we make everything from scratch, which is actually a rarity. You would be surprised at how many “distilleries” actually just purchase bulk ethanol, add flavourings and call it “Craft Gin”. Our spirits are real and that is the secret to great gin!

Part Four of a series: The Gin Man
Meet the locals who make Wanaka's epicurean scene delicious and exciting. 

Read Part One: The Barista