Cradle Mountain Whisky is a brand which comes with a significant pedigree. It claims the title of the First Commercial Australian Whisky Company under its previous name “The Small Concern Whisky Distillery”.
Cradle Mountain Whisky was first distilled by Brian Poke in 1989 under the name Darwin Distillery which was later named Franklin Distillery after the Franklin barley style which was developed in the region. The whisky was set to age in American Oak Barrels.
In the early 1990’s, Andrew Morrison one of the early team members visited Scotland with a barrel sample of the whisky which at the time was just 15 months old. He took it to independent bottlers William Cadenheads, the marketing arm of Springbank Distillery to get some perspective on the quality of the young whisky. Springbank was impressed and ordered seven barrels which in the early days was a big deal for the company as well as the emerging whisky industry.
The first whisky batch was rolled out to Scotland in January 1994, and the new spirit continued to flow until November 1997. In the words of the co-founder David MacLennan “We were the first cab off the rank”. Being the first commercial whisky producer in Tasmania it was difficult to maintain production due to funding, so the company continued to sell the stock pile whisky to its existing fan base in Australia and small quantities internationally.
In 2015 operations began a new restructuring process. We are delighted to say with confidence that with a combination of new techniques and traditional skills we will position ourselves in the premium single malt whisky market.
We are truely inspired to produce a quality whisky and this is further driven by the fans of Cradle Mountain Whisky who are in contact with us daily and looking forward to our next release of the Original and also our new and exciting Whisky’s.
A SHORT HISTORY OF TASMANIAN WHISKY
Geographically, Tasmania lies about 150 miles south of the Australian mainland. It derives it’s name from Abel Tasman, a Dutch sailor who first sighted it on 24th November 1642.
Distilling can be traced back as far as 1822 when Thomas Haigh Midwood set up the first legal distillery. The industry flourished and within two years 16 distilleries were operating on the island providing whisky for around 50,000 people, half of which were, or had been, convicts.
In 1838, Sir John Franklin the State Governor outlawed whisky production in response to his wife Lady Jane’s plea that she would “Prefer barley be fed to pigs than it be used to turn men into swine”. Lady Jane’s statement statement forced the closure of the distilleries and brought the Tasmanian whisky industry to a halt, which lasted over 150 years.
In the early 1990’s, Bill Lark a man of curiosity and tenacity questioned why Tasmania was not producing whisky despite having fields of barley, pure mountain water, highland peat bogs, and a most suitable climate. In his desire to see if Tasmania could produce a good single-malt Whisky, the distillation act was overturned and the industry was reborn. Operating from his kitchen, Lark was granted a license in 1992 and became the first legal distillery to operate on the island after 153 years.
Soon after, Tasmania’s first authorised commercial distillery in the north of the island officially began rolling out it’s Whisky which had started its development in 1989 with the brand name “Cradle Mountain Malt Whisky”.
It wasn’t long before others followed. The number of whisky producers operating across Australia is growing, and Tasmania with its abundance of natural resources is now home to 20 producers.