The idea of launching Morris Whisky did not immediately occur to winemaker John Casella when he acquired Morris of Rutherglen in 2016.
Casella’s sole aim was to save an Australian icon from liquidation. But then he saw the original hybrid copper still and the many barrels maturing Morris’s renowned fortified wines and recognised an opportunity to make a uniquely Australian single malt whisky.
In this episode of the Drinks Adventures podcast, we meet John Casella and Michael Sergeant, who is head of strategy and innovation at Casella Family Brands’ new subsidiary, Copper & Grain Distilling; as well as Morris head distiller Darren Peck.
John discusses Morris Whisky’s objective of competing with foreign imports, by creating the best possible whisky at an accessible price tag, and how he lured Scotch whisky experts John McDougall and Dr Jim Swan to assist in this endeavour.
In June 2021, Copper and Grain released two debut whiskies under the Morris label; Morris Signature Australian Single Malt Whisky and Morris Muscat Barrels Australian Single Malt Whisky.
Both have been extremely well-received, being awarded gold medals pre-release at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
You’ll hear two interviews within in this episode, the first of which is with John and Michael. I spoke separately to head distiller Darren Peck.