Australia’s first whisky distillery Lark Distillery celebrates its 30th anniversary
Attention whisky lovers! There was a time when those old enough to remember BL (Before Lark) didn't even ponder "Australian whisky?"
But as we now know... And thanks to this man...
Lark Distilling Co. celebrates 30 years of crafting world-class and uniquely Tasmanian whisky this year. As 2022 begins, the iconic distillery is reflecting on its three decades of growth, struggles, successes and changes, while also using the milestone to honour the community and environment that has made the journey possible.
In the late 1980s The Godfather of Australian Whisky and Lark Distilling Co. founder Bill Lark asked the question that pioneered the future of whisky in Tasmania.
"Why wasn’t anyone making single malt here?"
In 1992 he received the first Tasmanian distiller’s license granted in 154 years, and with a makeshift still on a kitchen table and both courage and curiosity in equal measure, this passion unfurled into a quiet pursuit of the exceptional. I must be slow, because it took me near to 10 years to arrive at the Tasmanian distillery, luckily having my first taste guided by Bill.
From these humble beginnings Lark has grown to become one of the most celebrated and recognised distilleries in the country and beyond, being named as one of four distillers nominated for Worldwide Whisky Producer of the Year at the 2020 International Wine & Spirit Competition. For thirty years, Lark has defied every expectation of what it means to make Tasmanian whisky.
" In 1992, when Lyn & I received the first licence to distill spirits in Tasmania since 1839, we were on our own. We could never have anticipated the wonderful growth of a Tasmanian and now Australian whisky & spirits industry. The growth is quite amazing in many ways. Lark started out with just Lyn & myself and now employs some 70 people. The growth of distilleries such as Lark is happening right across Australia, with most starting out as small artisan distilleries. Whiskies and gins that were once a curiosity are now producing international, award, winning spirits" explains Bill.
"There are now several distilleries across Tasmania and Australia that will be able to become serious exporters, reaching out across the world to meet the ever-growing demand for our spirits. With all this growth in the industry and the market, our volumes are still quite small relative to the global scene, and I can only see good times ahead for all concerned, both small craft distilleries to distilleries growing as Lark has done, to meet the challenge."
So the future is equally bright. After the acquisition of the Pontville Distillery in October 2021, Lark boasts a 500,000 litre distilling capacity and a diverse, inclusive, whisky-loving community. As well as growing its team and production capabilities, Lark will continue to innovate by exploring unfamiliar flavours and processes, and collaborating with those that share an affinity for creativity, such as Seppeltsfield and Wolf of the Willows.
The brand remains the leading voice and tastemaker in the Australian whisky market, and continues to shine on the international stage. Indeed, all over the world as Lark makes its mark in bars and tumblers across the world, it's obvious that Bill Lark’s original message of excellence and craft is being received by avid fans all keen for a taste of Tassie’s tiny island community.