Craig Fields also known as “Crafty” runs a small family owned craft distillery called Craft Works Distillery that operates in a small shed at the back of the Capertee pub. Capertee is a village 45 km north of Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia. It is on an elevated site above the picturesque Capertee Valley. The township has a population of fewer than 100 people. The major Castlereagh Highway links Capertee with Lithgow to the south and Mudgee to the north
Crafty has spent the last 3 years distilling in Capertee but he has actually been laying down casks for over 5 years.
To help cover the high overhead costs of setting up the distillery, Crafty released a range of Indie bottles. By casking the whisky from other distillers allows Crafty some creative release while bringing in handy cash while he waits the minimum 2 years required by law for a spirit in the casks to be labelled a whisky.
It’s a mild Autumn day in March 2021 when the team from mybottleshop.com bang on Craftys roller door just on the opening time of 11AM. Crafty gives a friendly greeting and a rundown of the operation at Craft Works Distillery.
Crafty mills, brews, distills and cask matures on site, so while it’s a small operation now, the whole whisky-making process from start to finish occurs on-site. This means that most of the resultant Australian whiskies are single-cask small-batch limited releases.
In November 2020 Crafty released his first Capertee grain to glass single malt release called “I AM…” Three special casks (both charred and uncharred) were selected to craft a complex and unique single malt with a flavour well beyond its youthful 2 years of age. The whisky was bottled at cask strength 62.7% and 485 bottles were realised from the 3 casks. The release is already sold out.
We taste the Tokay Okay (Hungarian Fortified Wine Barrel Finish) and Capertee which are both Indie bottlings of NSW distilled whisky but honestly the best taster on the day was Crafty’s own invention “I Am..”. I Am has a very strong chocolate tasting profile – perhaps it’s the Stout Beer wash that gives these delicious dark chocolate palate notes. In any case, we gave it two thumbs up and continued up the road towards Mudgee for more tasting adventures.
Crafty’s motto is “humanising the art of whisky”. We couldn’t agree more as Crafty is as human as a distiller can get! For more information about his whisky, refer to the Craft Work’s Distillery website.
www.craftworker.com.au. “I am a craftworker therefore I am…”