THIS WEEK, the HOUSE of LARK threw a party under clear and chilly Hobart skies at its new ‘whisky village’ in Pontville. Marking 30 years since Bill and Lyn Lark received their licence to distil, 200 hundred guests joined the Lark family to celebrate the wider Tasmanian whisky industry and the remarkable journey of The Lark brand.
Guests from across Australia included the Tasmanian State Premier Jeremy Rockliff, alongside many of the leading Tasmanian whisky distillers, trade partners, and media.
The evening opened with a Welcome to Country and traditional smoking ceremony by Ochre Rain, followed by a wild Tasmanian dinner: entrees curated by renowned local chefs Analiese Gregory and Jamie Yates, as well as Aboriginal kitchen Palawa Kipli.
The Founding Fathers of Tasmanian Whisky, Bill Lark and Patrick Maguire, took centre stage to reflect on three decades of growth, challenge, and global success, while also using the milestone to honour the community and environment that has made the journey possible.
That journey began in the late 1980’s when Bill Lark asked the question that pioneered the future of whisky in Tasmania: why wasn’t anyone making single malt here? In 1992 he and Lyn received the first Tasmanian distiller’s license granted in 154 years, and with a makeshift still on a kitchen table their passion unfurled into a quiet pursuit of excellence. That vision forged the path for many today, with over 70 operating distilleries in the state.
From these humble beginnings, LARK has grown to become one of the most celebrated and recognised distilleries in the country, awarded both Distillery, and Whisky of the Year (Australia Whisky Awards 2022), and globally, shortlisted for two consecutive years as Worldwide Whisky Producer of the Year, IWSC, 2020 and 2021. Looking forward, the future is equally bright.
The acquisition of the Pontville Distillery LARK now has a distilling capacity of around 500,000 litres between its three sites. The recently announced 4.5million dollar Tasmanian investment grant means a new distillery is set to be built in the Pontville location, adding another 1.5million litres to the existing capacity. It is estimated to be ready in 24 months’ time.
The grant, announced by Scott Morrison while on the campaign trail, had been in the pipe for months, bringing jobs to the region and significantly increasing the capacity for LARK to take Tasmanian whisky to the world.
“The grant was the second part of a submission that we worked on for months, that continues the work we are doing with carbon neutrality. It was announced by Scott Morrison as a part of his campaign, but the work was done for months prior to that. It’s all done now; it’s not aligned with one party or the other. It will bring jobs to the local community in both the production of the stills themselves and then the ability of Lark to take Tasmanian whisky to the world,” said Bill Lark.
To mark the momentous achievement of the past 30 years, The HOUSE of LARK has released two single malts that represent LARK’s rich history paying homage to a legendary Scottish single malt and LARK’s rich Tasmanian roots – Rare Cask Series Glenfarclas and Origins Single Malt Whisky, crafted by award winning Head Distiller, Chris Thomson.
Rare Cask Series Glenfarclas release is finished in casks that once held Glenfarclas 15-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky from the Scottish Highlands. It was over a dram of Glenfarclas 15, many years ago, that Bill and Lyn Lark remarked that if they were ever to make a single malt, they would hope to have it resemble what they were enjoying at that moment. A short time before the opening of their now legendary distillery, Bill received a phone call from owner John Grant of Glenfarclas. That was the start of a friendship that would transcend oceans and establish an unbreakable bond between the Glenfarclas and The HOUSE of LARK names.
Origins, a single malt shaped by the Tasmanian elements, is crafted with the same water from where the LARK whisky journey began. One crisp afternoon in the Tasmanian central highlands after a fishing trip at Lake Sorell, Bill Lark and father-in-law Max were enjoying their prized fish, when Bill turned to Max and asked why no one was making whisky in the greatest place in the world. This was the origin of something quite remarkable when the HOUSE of LARK was born. With the purest of Tasmanian water, this whisky represents the birth of LARK with the water from Lake Sorrel used to cut this whisky aged in Australian fortified casks.
As LARK makes its mark in bars and tumblers across the world, it’s evident that Bill Lark’s original message of excellence and craft is being received by avid fans all keen for
a taste of Tasmania.