Four Pillars Gin Co-founder Stuart Gregor was last night inducted into the Australian Distillers Hall of Fame alongside Lark Whisky Co-founder Lyn Lark at the Australian Distillers Annual Conference in Melbourne.
Gregor becomes Hall of Fame inductee number six, after the four founding fathers of the modern Australian craft distilling scene were the inaugural inductees in 2022. The first four are Bill Lark, Cameron Syme, Patrick Maguire and posthumously Raymond ‘Spike’ Dessert.
Gregor was President of Australian Distillers from 2014 to 2022 and his induction is recognition of this alongside the part he has played in building Four Pillars into the business it is today.
Australian Distillers (formerly Australian Distillers Association) is the industry’s peak body and during Gregor’s tenure membership grew tenfold from around 30 members to well over 400.
“This is a rare honour and something that is a testament, if nothing else, for how far we have come as an industry and how well Australian Distillers has evolved since I got out of the way last year,” Gregor said.
“My time with the ADA was only made possible because I have two such awesome Co-founders Cam Mackenzie and Matt Jones, who frankly freed up so much spare time for me, it was good fortune I had some industry lobbying to keep me occupied.
“The day we received notification of the full $350,000 excise rebate in 2021 was a red-letter day as was the appointment of Paul McLeay as our first CEO. Both those things have immeasurably improved the lot of every single distiller in Australia. “And, of course, we owe enormous gratitude to those who went before us and did the hard yards. And it’s pretty cool coming in alongside Lyn.”
The Hall of Fame announcements were made at the largest ever Australian Distillers conference, attended by more than 500 delegates, a far cry from the 2014 ‘conference’ held at the original Starward distillery which attracted 16 attendees. “We’ve come a long way and have a long way to travel,” Gregor said.
“Australian Distillers is in great shape, there are great state bodies everywhere including NSW, surely we need to get Minns on the gins, and while we have much to still fight for as excise is going to top $100 per litre of alcohol this year, we also have much to celebrate.”
Hall of Fame accolade for Lyn Lark
Fellow inductee into the Hall of Fame Lyn Lark and her husband Bill were instrumental in overturning archaic laws from the Distillation Prohibition Act of 1839 and 1901 Distillation Act that dictated that distilling could only occur in large volumes. In 1982 they opened the first distillery in Tasmania since 1839.
Over 30 years, they have built what is now one of Australia’s most famous whisky distilleries, recently nominated as one of four distillers for the Worldwide Whisky Producer of the Year award.
The distillery said: “Where would we be without Lyn? Today, and everyday we’re tipping our hat to Lyn Lark, but especially so after her recent induction into the Australian Distillers Hall of Fame.
“Whilst often behind the scenes, and where possible behind the camera, Lyn was the corner stone of establishing LARK Distillery, the science and the palate, and the driving force in building the wider distilling industry. In Lyn’s words, ‘every business needs a show pony and a draft horse’, and we are incredibly lucky, and proud to have Bill and Lyn Lark build this special business, taking a small idea on a kitchen table, to a globally recognised, Single Malt Whisky.”
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