Annual Review - 2018 Rum Harvest & New Distillery Commission


2018 - a Defining Year for Husk Distillers

Rundown by Paul Messenger, Founder

New Sugar Mill

2018 saw the final design, construction and commissioning of the new sugar mill at Husk Farm Distillery, the first sugar mill built in the Tweed Valley since the closure of the Abbotsford mill in 1895.

New Old Harvester

As part of our commitment to Agricole rum production, and to feed the hungry mill, we also purchased and reconditioned a thirty-year old Austoft cane harvester, a remarkable and complex piece of Australian ingenuity.

Forsyth Still

This was also the year we unveiled the very first Scottish Forsyth still in Australia. Erecting and commissioning one of the largest stills in the country was an exciting challenge as we moved from our old 1,000 litre pot to the massive 6,000 litre Forsyth pot and 20 plate column. This also required upgrading our fermentation cells from a single 2,500 litre fermenter to two 12,000 litre units.

The distillation circuit was commissioned first after we installed a racking system to hold 24 large bags of botanicals inside the pot for our gin.

Commissioning the New Distillery

By July we were running trials on the sugar mill and working through a series of issues and modifications which led onto a three-month harvest period of cutting and crushing cane straight from the paddock. 

Whilst running the new pot still in the gin mode was pretty straightforward, producing Agricole rum with the new pot column set up took some time to master. We had to learn how to fly this new machine which didn’t come with a user manual and being the very first Agricole rum distillery in Australia really made us feel like pioneers in the industry.

2018 Harvest

300 tonnes of cane

30,000 litres of distillate

90 barrels of rum

At the close of the season we’d harvested three hectares and crushed 300 tonnes of cane. From the freshly fermented juice we distilled the 2018 vintage of Husk Virgin Cane Rum, producing 30,000 litres of rum and filling approximately 90 barrels and several thousand litres of unaged Agricole.

Making agricole is a craft that requires a lot of patience, know-how and determination and we are proud to offer our “paddock to bottle” rums to Australia.

Harriet Messenger