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Tasmania’s Stories

An ancient brew

Tassie twist to ancient brew - bottle

What do you get from a secret blend of Tassie’s world-class honey, whisky and an ancient recipe?

You get Whisky Honey Mead. A delicious new drink, which according to its producer – the larger than life local honey maestro Lindsay Bourke – is a world-first. An innovative new twist on the oldest alcoholic drink known to humans.

Lindsay found when you add whisky to the antiquated brew of mead it creates something magical – a little taste of pure Tasmanian heaven.

Mead and myth!
Tassie twist to ancient brew - honeycomb

Tassie twist to ancient brew - honeycomb

Mead is the stuff of legend. Ancient Greeks considered this sweet honey elixir 'the nectar of the Gods’; King Midas drank mead from his golden goblet; and the Vikings fortified themselves with it as they conquered the oceans.

This smooth drink is created from a mixture of honey, yeast and water, and was most probably an accident of history.

"Back in Ancient times, people collected honey, water got into it by accident and it started to bubble. They drank it and felt funny, but they liked it. And Mead, the world’s first alcohol was born,” Lindsay explains.

Lindsay has been making pure Tasmanian mead for more years than he can remember.

He has more hives than anyone else in Tasmania – 4,000 at last count. In his brew, he uses native Tasmanian Prickly Box Honey that grows in the hills between Hobart and Launceston and flowers over Christmas.

Lindsay says this produces the best mead in the world, and he even has the award to prove it!

In 2017, Lindsay’s mead was crowned 'Best in the World’ at the biennial International Beekeepers Awards in Turkey, and he will head to Canada later this year to defend his title.

Whisky wonder
Tassie twist to ancient brew - whisky honey mead

Tassie twist to ancient brew - whisky honey mead

When Lindsay added whisky to his Honey Mead and spent 18 months experimenting, he created an exciting new drink.

"The Honey Mead I’ve been making for a long time has been winning world titles, but for some reason, when you fortify it with whisky, it tastes even better!” Lindsay says.

"Our Whisky Honey Mead combines the wonderful flavour of Tasmanian native honey, with a Tasmanian whisky that’s won world gold medals. It’s smooth and velvety. Drink it neat with a cheese platter before a meal, or afterwards with a coffee. In fact, drink it anytime!”

"It’s a taste of pure heaven.”

Earlier this month Lindsay unveiled his innovative new Whisky Honey Mead to the world at HOFEX, which is Asia’s largest food trade show in Hong Kong, where it received rave reviews.

Winter warmer
Tassie twist to ancient brew - beehive

Tassie twist to ancient brew - beehive

Lindsay and his wife, Yeonsoon, run Australian Honey Products, which is one of the State’s biggest honey producers. They make 250 tonnes of premium honey each year, 75 per cent of which is exported.

As well as mead, they also craft beautiful Tasmanian honeys, like leatherwood which they source from hives placed deep within the pristine rainforests of the West Coast. Lindsay says Tasmanian honey is the best in the world, and he only uses his best in Whisky Honey Mead

And with the winter chill descending, there’s never been a more perfect time to sit in front of a roaring fire and crack open a bottle of this Tassie – 'nectar of the gods’.

Images courtesy of Australian Honey Products

22 May 2019, Edition 205

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Facts about Tasmania

Tasmania

Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.

Tasmania

Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012–13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.

Geography

Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.

Geography

The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island’s land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.

Geography

About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.

Climate

Twice named ‘Best Temperate Island in the World’ by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.

Climate

In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.

Population

The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of kunanyi / Mount Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.

Flora

Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.

Flora

Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King’s holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.

Fauna

Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.

Fauna

The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.

Fauna

The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania’s predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.

Economy

A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.

Economy

Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world’s biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.

Economy

The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.

Economy

Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.

Economy

Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.

Economy

The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.

Economy

Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.

Economy

The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the State’s gross product in 2010–11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by Brand Tasmania © 2014–2019

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