Lark Distillery celebrates huge year-on-year growth

Iconic Tasmanian whisky producer Lark Distillery has revealed a huge sales surge in its latest results, with year-to-date net sales of $13.5million, delivering 51% growth year on year.

Net sales in Q3 were $3.3million, with net sales guidance for FY22 reaffirmed in the range of $20–$24million. Lark said the stronger GP margin was influenced by higher pricing of limited releases, in conjunction with a net sales channel shift to hospitality which improved the overall position in Q3,compared to H1 performance (GP% H1 ~61.7% vs Q3 ~66.5%).

Lark experienced stronger trading conditions in its owned hospitality premises in late March, contributing to strong GP growth in the quarter despite variable trading conditions in the first months of the year.

“Lark hospitality venues provide an opportunity to showcase the Lark brand, driving new consumers to the brand and providing a retail sales opportunity,” the company said.

“In late March 2022, the newly acquired site at Pontville opened its freshly branded Lark Cellar Door to customers. Early indications suggest that the historic and picturesque site will drive foot traffic and enable the Lark brand experience to expand further.”

Lark also recently launched Legacy, its first 20-year-old whisky and its first whisky retailed at over $2000.

“Supporting the premium positioning of the brand is an array of awards collected in Q3, with Lark fast becoming Australia’s most awarded whisky distillery,” the company noted.

Among its recent awards:

  • Distillery of the Year – Australian Whisky Awards
  • Whisky of the Year (Christmas Cask III) – Australian Whisky Awards
  • Best Blended Malt Whisky (Symphony) – Category Winner – World Whisky Awards
  • Sustainable Distillery of the Year – World Whisky Awards
  • Campaign Innovator of the Year – World Whisky Awards
  • 14 Silver and 8 Bronze awards – International Wine & Spirits Competition

The company revealed that it was track to deliver 2 million litres of whisky under maturation at 30 June 2022 with 1.95million litres at the end of Quarter 3, with a potential estimated future net sales value of $422million.

Build its beachhead to new export markets

Lark revealed that it executed a Heads of Agreement with GNT, a highly regarded liquor distributor to China, in March 2022. An initial order was dispatched in April, with a variety of products aimed at high net wealth and premium selected retailers in southern areas of China.

The company said expansion into other markets including South-East Asia, key US cities and Canada “continues to be vigorously pursued” with strong interest from multiple parties.

Global search for new CEO

Lark Distillery noted that its global CEO search is continuing following the resignation of Geoff Bainbridge in March, with the goal to “install a visionary leader” who possesses strong skills in the development and execution of an export strategy and the recruitment of agents, distributors and direct employees around the globe with an immediate focus on China, Southeast Asia, and selected parts of North America.

$4.5million in government funding

Lark Distillery has also been announced as the recipient of $4.5 million funding under Round 2 of the Integration and Translation Streams of the Australian Government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative.

Liberal Candidate for Lyons, Susie Bower said: “Lark is one of Australia’s most recognised whisky brands, and has singlehandedly developed Tasmania’s global reputation as a distilling powerhouse.

“The $4.5 million investment will enable Lark to construct a new single malt whisky distillery at the Shene Estate in Pontville, expanding distilling capacity and contributing to local job creation.

“The distillery will be capable of producing one million litres of spirit a year, significantly expanding Lark’s whisky-making capabilities, and increasing the company’s export potential to key global markets.

“In addition, the whisky stills will be manufactured locally in Westbury, delivering even greater economic benefit for local businesses.”

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