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hall of fame

Launched at the Australian Distillers 2022 Conference, the Hall of Fame was conceived by the Management Committee to acknowledge and celebrate the significant contributions of members in advancing the growth of the Australian spirits industry.

As we take the opportunity to look back and reflect on all the positive things the industry has achieved since its revitalization we are honoured to induct the founding members of the Australian Distillers Association into the organisation’s Hall of Fame.

The Committee hopes the Hall of Fame will be an achievement members will aspire to, as the industry continues to grow and mature.

Below are the videos from the conference of our wonderful inductees accepting their awards.

Raymond 'spike' dessert the third.

The dearly departed Raymond ‘Spike’ Dessert The Third is remembered as the industry’s True Believer, yarn spinner and heart and soul of the Australian Distillers Association.

In 1972, Spike landed near Kununurra in the remote Kimberly outback to develop his seed business. After falling in love with the area, he decided to make it his home.

In 1995, inspiration struck and Spike built Western Australia’s oldest continuously operating – and legal still.

Hoochery Distillery was born, and Spike joined the ranks of Australia’s first craft distillers.

As one of the four founders of the Australian Distillers Association, Spike was adamant about good governance, treating people with respect, and creating a great and viable Australian distilling industry.

For a long time, nothing really happened with the association, but Spike just kept paying his fees, confident that good things were coming.

Even when others wanted to fold it, Spike knew the association would be integral one day, and after the historic ruling last year that provides eligible distillers a full rebate of any excise paid up to $350,000 – along with countless other achievements along the way – it seems Spike was right.

His proud daughter, Kalyn Fletcher, reliably informs us that Spike would have tipped his hat with a smile at all the great achievements of this wonderful industry

Since Spike’s passing in 2017, Kalyn has continued his legacy and taken over the reins at Hoochery Distillery.

To this day, they use Spike’s still to make their world class rum, gin and liqueurs

bill lark

When Bill established Lark Distillery in May 1992 with his wife, Lyn, it was the first such licence issued in Tasmania since 1839.

In 2008, he became a founding director of Starward Distillery (then known as Victoria Valley Distillery) and in 2012, he co-founded Old Kempton Distillery (then known as Redlands Distillery) in the Derwent Valley.

At the Tasmanian Tourism Awards 2013, Bill was named ‘Minister’s Champion’.

In 2014, Lark Distillery was awarded Telstra Tasmanian and Australian Small Business of the Year.

In 2015 he was personally awarded the Hospitality Minister’s Award for Excellence for ‘Contribution to the Industry’. Also in 2015, he was named the 28th inductee of the World Whisky Awards Hall of Fame in the United Kingdom. Bill was the first Australian to be bestowed such an honour.

He has acted as a judge in several Australian Spirit Awards and in February 2019, was appointed Head Judge for the inaugural Australian Gin Awards and Head Judge for the Tasting Australia Spirit Awards in South Australia.

Bill continues to consult to distilleries across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and is also Global Brand Ambassador for Lark Distilling Company.

A founding member of the Australian Distillers Association and The Tasmanian Whisky Producers Association, Bill has mentored many throughout their craft distilling adventures.

His generosity of spirit in sharing his advice and wisdom with newcomers to the industry has inspired a truly collegiate environment which has thrived on continuous improvement and knowledge exchange.

patrick maguire

Patrick Maguire is credited as elevating Australian single malt whisky on the world stage. He is one of the founders of the modern Australian whisky industry and was, until recently, a part owner, manager and the head distiller of Sullivan’s Cove Distillery.

Patrick headed up the team that took the brand from obscurity to one of the leading Tasmanian and Australian whisky brands.

The recipient of numerous international awards for his single malts including, World Whiskies Awards, World’s Best Single Malt in 2014 and World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt in 2018 and 2019, he was inducted into the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame in 2018 and Icons of Whisky Australia. In 2021, he was also named Master Distiller and Blender of the Year.

Patrick is an inaugural member of both the Australian Distillers Association and the Tasmanian Whisky and Spirits Association.

For those of you that have bumped into Patrick at the conference today, you may have noticed he is sporting the name of a brand new distillery on his name badge.

We all look forward to seeing what ‘Maguire and Co. Bottlers and Distillers’ achieves as you embark on your next distilling adventure.

Cameron Syme

Cameron is the owner of three of Western Australia’s award-winning distilleries – the Great Southern Distilling Company in Albany, Giniversity in Margaret River, and Tiger Snake Distillery in Porongurup.

His spirits have been awarded over 150 medals and trophies in international spirit competitions over 14 consecutive years, including the first Gold Medal for an Australian Spirit in the UK’s International Wine & Spirit Competition.

Icons of World Whisky UK recognised Cameron as Australian Distillery Manager of the Year in 2018 and his distilleries as Australia’s Distillery of the Year in 2019. His Limeburners Whisky has twice won the trophy as World’s Best International Craft Whisky at the World’s largest spirit competition, the USA’s ADI.

An inaugural member of the Australian Distillers Association, Cameron was also its founding President, a position he held until 2010.

His long-standing contribution to the Association has assisted many Australian distillers throughout their journeys in the industry.

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