Lord Byron Distillery, Byron Bay, will be opening its doors to the public soon after last weekend’s visit from Bill Lark and Mark Nicholson of Lark Distillery. We are putting the finishing touches on commissioning and we’re about to start bottling our hand-crafted products.

Bill, affectionately known as the Godfather of Australian Spirits, and Mark, whisky aficionado, have trained and mentored founders Brian and Helen over several years. As such, Brian and Helen were very excited to welcome Bill and Mark to Lord Byron Distillery last weekend to sample their products prior to bottling. Brian says, “We have been so lucky that Bill and Mark have taken such an interest in us from the start of our business. Our process of carbon neutral, zero waste distilling has taken 5 years to perfect and it will be great to share our drinks prior to bottling to ensure we live up to the high standards they both set in the industry.

Mark Nicolson is a professional whisky taster and long-time friend of Bill Lark. Mark has worked alongside Bill at Lark Distillery for many years and was a key advisor on the establishment of the popular Whisky Trail in Tasmania.

We will be releasing a very limited amount of our own hand made Spirit of Byron drinks – silver rhum, vodka and limoncello. The silver rhum is a taste of our double distilled barrel strength rum before it is matured in oak barrels, and our vodka and limoncello are triple distilled and double filtered to ensure purity.

We will be holding cocktail making courses and also giving people the opportunity to make their own signature gin. Brian and Helen have sourced another premium, family produced, dark rum from Central America, calling it the Promise (of things to come), to enjoy whilst waiting for the Lord Byron Distillery Rum to age.

Bill Lark says, “I have been lucky to enjoy the Promise of things to come and am pleased now to be a self-appointed Lord Byron Ambassador. In striving to produce their own special spirits, Brian and Helen have sought inspiration from some of the best rums around and I can honestly advise you to keep an eye out for their own aged rum releases into the future. In fact, you don’t need wait for that, having had the pleasure of being able to taste the rum spirit before going into the barrel, I was more than impressed with the depth of character and smooth, velvety nature of the spirit. This will be a rich and luscious rum. Being a whisky tragic, I may now have to admit to becoming a rum’un as well. The most impressive thing for me was experiencing the distillery’s dedication to producing a spirit of amazing quality.”

Micro distilling was outlawed by Governor Franklin (affectionately known to distillers as Bad Frankie) in 1838. Bill Lark succeeded in getting this law overturned in 1992 and soon after started to produce his own distilled spirits. From Bill, the Australian distilling industry has expanded exponentially and continues to do so into a range of Australian spirits including whisky, gin, vodka, rum, vermouth and many others. In recognition of his achievements, Bill was admitted to the World Whisky Hall of Fame in 2015, being only the seventh person outside of Scotland or Ireland to be inducted.

Bill Lark says, “I’ve been making spirits now for over 26 years and nothing excites me more than to visit a new distillery full of passion and a strong desire to produce a product that will tempt the senses and soothe the palate. Brian and Helen are going to make our industry proud and will be serious members of a collegial industry keen to see Australian spirits sought after worldwide. The industry has certainly come a long way since we began on our own all those years ago. To visit a distillery like Lord Byron will impress the most experienced consumer for what they have achieved since following their passion. Their entire process from sourcing raw material to matching that with a distillation program created to produce the very best from the region is a credit to them both.”