Founder and Global Brand Ambassador - Lark Distillery
Bill Lark is sometimes referred to as the Godfather or Grandfather of Australian Whisky, a title he is extremely proud to own. Bill began his working life as a land surveyor before graduating in 1978 and entering private practice in 1980.
In 1985, he built and ran a pub with his wife in Tasmania’s northern ski field with three other families, until they sold it in 2005 when the Lark Distillery had truly taken over their lives. In 1992, Lark Distillery commenced operation at Kingston where they started distilling whisky and developing other products; this was to change their lives considerably.
The story of how they started the modern day whisky industry in Tasmania has been well documented over the years but perhaps without the full recognition of the assistance given by the Scottish distilling family. The friendship and knowledge shared by the Scotch industry was the inspiration needed to grow the industry in Australia.
Bill’s first commercial production and retail premises were established at Richmond in the Coal River Valley in 1997 and in 2000 Lark moved to the waterfront of Hobart. At about this time he was also asked to take a one-year contract to manage the newly taken over Tasmanian Distillery (Sullivans Cove) growing it from 40 barrels a year to 500 barrels a year.
In 2001 the family concentrated on growing their distillery with Bill’s daughter, Kristy, working through the business from cellar door to head distiller and then as General Manager. Lark has grown from humble beginnings in 1992 to today where it employs some 30 staff in production, sales, marketing and tourism.
Bill is a founding member of the Australian Distillers Association and the Tasmanian Whisky Producers Association and held executive positions on both.