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Our Story

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 to be 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 armed with a young 15 month old sample of whisky, visited Scotland in the hope of gaining some perspective on the quality of the young whisky. He took it to the independent bottlers William Cadenheads, the marketing arm of the Springbank Distillery for a first impression. A very impressed Springbank ordered seven barrels, which in the early days would have been a big deal for the emerging company and Tasmanian whisky industry.

Tasmanian Whisky - The First Australia Distillery

An early batch was rolled out to Scotland in January 1994, and the new spirit continued to flow with initial success covering a number of overseas locations, but business slowed and started based on orders.


In the words of the co-founder David MacLennan: “We were the first cab off the rank” as the first commercial whisky producer in Tasmania. It was incredibly 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.

Cradle Mountain Whisky-Cadenheads
Tasmanian Whisky

In 2015 we restructured the company and the process. With the combination of new techniques, equipment and traditional skills handed down by the founding Master Distiller, we continue to produce a premium quality Tasmanian single malt whisky.

Cradle Mountain Lahra Family
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