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Callington Mill Distillery creates an immersive tourism experience within one of Tasmania’s oldest towns

16 Mar 2023

Located in the town of Oatlands and surrounded by Australia's largest collection of Georgian buildings, Callington Mill Distillery’s strong yet simple gabled design navigates the requirements of a modern distillery while providing the immersive visitor experience of a traditional cellar door.

“The distillery had to strike a fine balance between functionality, scale, and history while offering a world class visitor experience,” explains project architect Luke Waldron.

“The buildings are large enough to adequately house the industrial distilling equipment yet remain an understated addition that blends into its heritage landscape.”

Built adjacent to Oatlands’ iconic Callington Mill precinct, the design is centred on being a contemporary addition that reflects the town’s built environment without hiding its age.

Its two gabled buildings reflect the utilitarian rural sheds of the region and reference the town’s rooftops in both height and aesthetic. These familiar corrugated roofs are grounded by a mosaic of weathered bricks, a contemporary response to Oatland’s predominant sandstone rhythm.

By utilising the natural contours of the sloped site, Cumulus ensured the distillery is viewed as a single storey from the precinct’s courtyard. A recessed "second storey" provided the additional volume required for large distilling equipment, such as the bespoke swan neck copper stills.

Large windows framing the entrance, distillery floor, and tasting room open the spaces and invite visitors to peer into the distillery’s inner workings.

“The distillery’s three main areas — the restaurant, factory floor, and the sunken tasting Barrel Room — are designed as a series of spaces for visitors to experience safely at their leisure,” explains Cumulus Director Peter Walker.

In each area, visitors are treated to a set of individual experiences. The warm welcome of the restaurant and bar, the industrial sounds and fermenting smells of the factory floor, and the calm, near-silent space of the Barrel Room.

“This natural sequence of spaces, all linked by wayfinding signage that immerse visitors into the story of the whisky, allow the distillery to be run by a handful of staff. This also helps maintain a sense of intimacy for visitors despite its scale,” adds Peter.

Throughout the distillery, the interiors are weaved together with materials referencing whisky’s rich tones — Tasmanian Oak joinery, brass fittings, minimal lighting, and marble with a golden hue.
Designed in close collaboration with the clients and an experienced team of subconsultants, Callington Mill Distillery is a refined, considered and modern working building that is respectful to a unique context.

Thank you to our collaborators on the project:
GLB Constructions
ERA Planning & Environment
Saltmarsh & Escobar Consulting
Green Design Group Pty Ltd
Playstreet Pty Ltd
pitt&sherry Building Surveying
Milan Prodanovic
Damian Mackey

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