Bubbling up from archaic laws and a non-existent industry 20 years ago, Australian whisky makers are winning medals worldwide, and even teaching the Scots a thing or two.

Story By Ken Eastwood

When Tasmanian Bill Lark and his father were trout fishing in the late 1980s, they would often enjoy a whisky or three. As they sipped and contemplated the island state’s pure water flowing past them, or hiked past highland peat bogs – two key ingredients for whisky – they wondered why Australia wasn’t producing its own single malt whiskies.
Looking into it, Bill discovered that Australia was trapped by archaic laws. Distilleries had been banned in Tasmania since 1839, and federally, a 1901 law made it impossible to set up anything but a huge still of more than 2700-litre capacity, restricting distilleries to huge enterprises such as Bundaberg Rum. Bill successfully pushed for a change in the law and set up, in 1992, the Lark Distillery, which has now won awards worldwide, including the best whisky outside Scotland and Ireland.

This Story is from Issue #95

Outback Magazine: June/July 2014