Sullivans Cove, recently anointed world's best single malt whisky is making waves internationally. The 13-year-old single malt won the top accolade at the World Whisky Awards in March.
It is made with barley and fresh water and matured in barrels in Tasmania off Australia's southern coast.
The owner Patrick Maguire said, "It's an old-fashioned style of whisky and I think when the judges tasted it, it appealed to them. It's got all the structure there, the mouth-fill, the creaminess, all these things that aren't in so many whiskies these days because they are mass-produced. And that's the difference I think. Moving towards a mass-produced product would compromise the hand-crafted nature of our whisky."
This southern state had budding distilleries in the 1820s before more pressing concerns ended it. Sydney was starving and messages were sent to the governor, saying, "We need your barley for food, stop using it for whisky." Giving in to the pressure the governor in 1830 agreed to raise the level of excise so high that six of the seven distilleries closed. The next governor John Franklin imposed a total ban on distillation in 1839.
In 1992 while, Lark and his wife Lyn were drinking whisky in the state's highlands, they started to wonder why Tasmania did not make the spirit even though it had very good barley, beautifully clean water, a wonderful climate, and peat fields. The couple managed to persuade a local politician to help amend a 1901 law that discouraged boutique breweries and bought Aus$65 still to make whisky in their home.
Awards and international recognition followed, and two decades later with a staff of 18 The Lark's have a turnover of over millions of dollars each year. 25,000 bottles of Sullivans Cove are released in a year, which the owners hope to increase to 60,000 bottles in eight years.