In 1838, Governor John Franklin imposed a Prohibition on distilling in Tasmania, which would last for over 150 years, until it was lifted in the early 1990s. Following the repeal of the Prohibition, Robert Hoskins (no, not the legendary actor who played Mario in the Super Mario Bros. movie) established Sullivan’s Cove whisky in Sullivan’s Cove, Hobart, in 1994. A few years later, the distillery put on the market and in 2003, it was bought Patrick Maguire, who joined the distillery in 1999.
The distillery currently uses a 2,500 litre copper and stainless steel still and has a capacity of just 17,500 litres a year. To mature their whisky, they use 300-litre casks from McWilliams Winery in New South Wales and 200-litre bourbon casks from America, in which the whisky slumbers for around 10 years.
The small Sullivan’s Cove team of five produce a small amount of whisky a year, especially compared to some of the giants from Scotland, but what they do produce has been given a huge number of accolades, with frequent quotes of admiration from Jim Murray. In 2014, Sullivan’s Cove became the first non-Scottish-or-Japanese holder of the title World’s Best Single Malt Whisky after being crowned as such at the World Whiskies Awards 2014.