Cradle Mountain Whisky
Cradle Mountain Whisky has a long and colourful past of over 28 years, with many name changes, changes in shareholdings and locations. The constant element however, is the Cradle Mountain Whisky brand, which became popular for a time under the distillery name The Small Concern Whisky Distillery Pty. Ltd. It claims to be the first commercial whisky distillery in Australia of the new era, dating its foundation at Ulverstone in the Northwest of Tasmania, back to 1989. It was then known as the Darwin Distillery, a creation of Brian Poke, the well-known distilling consultant. The name was changed, briefly, to Franklin Distillery after the local barley strain of that name, before becoming The Small Concern, backed by a few local investors. The company again changed ownership and name when the Lahra family purchased the company “lock stock, websites and barrel”. After a chance tasting of the 17 year old Single Malt whisky while travelling overseas, Joe declared, “The whisky was so good we immediately had to buy the company”.
So good was the early product that in true coals to Newcastle fashion, one of the team had the temerity to turn up with samples of the spirit at the long-established Scottish whisky house of Wm. Cadenhead (owned by Springbank Distillery), who quickly pronounced it fit to carry their very distinguished label. Frankly, this was a remarkable achievement.
We have here two of the oldest locally bottled Tasmanian whiskies, whose scarcity will be enhanced just as soon as the Cradle Mountain brand is relaunched, albeit at a different location and using new equipment, but no doubt continuing the tradition of its original founders.