Our Story


Forty years ago, when now grandparents David and Sarah were posties in Wellington, they met up with other workmates who got them into brewing beer the old-fashioned way with barley.

Their flatmates at that time persistently surveyed their efforts to make a good quality drink and apart from igniting a genuine interest and learning about the excellent results from brewing one’s own beer, this ongoing fundamental activity has manifested itself in the present-day Headwaters Distillery.

From a four-stand walk through cow dairy in Golden Bay, upgraded to a dairy goat facility, then converted to the present-day Headwaters Distillery, the journey continues.

As a regular observer of these ongoing brewing and distilling techniques our son Ryan asked when he was about fifteen years old, “If you ever decide to do this commercially, give me a ring”

After a long period that is exactly what happened and in 2013 David rang Ryan who was working in an Italian restaurant in Melbourne at the time and said: “We are going commercial”. Ryan asked, “How much do I need and when should I come back”

2013 was the year that we started rebuilding a partly completed 1,000-litre still and with the help of family, local engineers, and David and Ryan's own knowledge, the distillery was transformed into a production facility.

After proving to ourselves that what we were doing was worth investing both our time and money into we have since filled our first four barrels with organic spirit, and to our delight, all are doing well and offering us all the wonderful aromas and bouquets that spring forth when the bung is removed from each barrel.

Our decision to bottle before three years was up stems from a California Brewery and Distillery bottling their spirit after only eighteen months and having it rated as one of the best in the world. As we were testing ours regularly and blind tasting with two Irish 10yr old Single Malt Whiskies we found to our delight that in every case but one ours was chosen; thus, the decision to bottle early.

The next process was to finally verify our intent with the local authorities.

Having achieved official registration in 2019 the scene was set for getting Headwaters Single Malt out into the market place and that happened in the first weeks of 2020 where sales have begun locally here in Golden Bay.