Award-winning Tassie whisky producer raises cash for distillery purchase with ease

Rebecca Le MayNCA NewsWire
Not Supplied
Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Shares in Lark have jumped after the premium Tasmanian whisky maker reported it was easily raising cash to fund the acquisition of an iconic distiller as part of ambitious global expansion plans.

The award-winning single malt producer revealed on Monday it had inked a deal to buy the Pontville Distillery and Estate north of Hobart for $40m.

The estate includes 16 hectares of land and buildings, a 130,000-litre distillery, a cellar door, a working cooperage, historic stables and a homestead.

There, Lark plans to construct a new 1 million litre, $13m distillery, helping it to accelerate its global export ambitions, with commissioning of the facility slated for 2023.

Lark is celebrating its 30th anniversary next year. Sam Shelley
Camera IconLark is celebrating its 30th anniversary next year. Sam Shelley Credit: Supplied

But in the meantime, the existing distillery Lark acquires will boost its total production capacity by about 50 per cent and give it a broader spread of litres under maturation, providing access to export markets from the 2023 financial year, 12 months ahead of previously published plans.

To fund the acquisition, Lark is raising about $53m and announced on Tuesday it had already secured $46.5m through the issue of new shares at $5 each, saying interest from both existing institutional shareholders and new investors has been strong.

The news sent Lark shares soaring more than 10 per cent to an intraday high of $5.60.

whisky
Camera IconFounder Bill Lark realised everything needed for world-class whisky was in Tasmania: barley, soft water, highland peat bogs and an ideal climate. Credit: News Corp Australia

Lark began production in 1992 after founder Bill Lark successfully fought antiquated distilling laws and was the first Australian distillery to produce single malt spirit in 154 years.

Part of its rich flavour comes from freshwater sphagnum peat, mined from Lark’s own peat bog in the Tasmanian Highlands that is used to smoke the locally grown barley.

“Lark at Pontville points to the exciting future of Australian whisky,” Mr Lark said.

“I could never have imagined 30 years ago from my kitchen bench, where that very first bottle of Lark was made, that in 2022 we’d be producing some of the world’s best whiskies across three exceptional distilleries right here in Tasmania and all from Australia’s first certified carbon-neutral distiller.”

It could become an even more eventful week for the company, which for the second straight year has been nominated for the International Wine and Spirit Competition worldwide whisky producer of the year award to be announced in Scotland on October 21.

Lark also produces gins and liqueurs.

Originally published as Award-winning Tassie whisky producer raises cash for distillery purchase with ease

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