A little whey forward

Jacinta CantatoreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Harvey Cheese owners Penny and Robert St Duke practice pouring in preparation.
Camera IconHarvey Cheese owners Penny and Robert St Duke practice pouring in preparation. Credit: Nicolette Barbas

An award-winning cheese producer is a step closer to turning its curds into vodka, gin and orange liqueur.

Harvey Cheese plans to build a distillery at its boutique cheese factory in Wokalup after it gets final approval from Harvey Shire Council.

If all goes to plan Harvey Cheese owners Robert and Penny St Duke will then apply for a liquor licence.

“We had to get the full approval from council before I could even think about that,” Mr St Duke said.

The owners plan to use a whey by-product from cheese making to create vodka and gin, as well as a limoncello-style tipple and orange-flavoured liqueur using local citrus.

Mr St Duke told the council the distillery would boost tourism and employment opportunities in the area. It would also reduce waste because the whey by-product would be fermented for the liqueurs.

Mr St Duke will source the equipment in Tasmania.

In a report to the council, Harvey shire manager of planning services Simon Hall advised the proposed distillery would be consistent with the objectives of the “tourist zone” at the Wokalup farm, which opens seven days a week under its current business model.

Adding to the appeal of the St Dukes’ new venture is a deal the couple recently struck with Main Roads.

The transport agency purchased 10m of frontage for road-widening works and will install a slip lane at the Wokalup property when the roadworks go ahead in the coming months.

Mr St Duke said he was looking forward to purchasing the equipment for the new venture.

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