Cameron Syme, left, was presented with the award by Bill Lark, right.

Great Southern Distilling Company founder, Cameron Syme, has been inducted into the Australian Whisky Hall of Fame at the Australia Whisky Awards, held last night.

Cameron Syme, the force behind the award-winning Limeburners Australian Single Malt, was bestowed with Hall of Fame status by Bill Lark, an Australian whisky legend in his own right.

In his introductory speech, Lark illustrated Syme’s integral role in forming the Australia Distillers Association: “It really didn’t go very far until [Syme] came along and accepted our request to become part of this association.”

 Lark also outlined Syme’s trailblazing work in Australian whisky and gin.

“His very first distilling began on Christmas Eve 2005… And the first ‘legal’ whisky was released in 2008.”

“In 2005, Australia’s third gin distillery, and the first ‘craft gin’ distillery was launched under the Margaret River Distilling Company banner, and later [Great Southern Distilling Company] was the first Australian distillery to make a mixed-grain and sour mash whisky.”

“[Syme] has achieved over 130 awards and accolades for the spirit he has produced. But for me, [Syme] has quietly gone about helping out our industry in more ways than any of us have ever known.”

Lark also illustrated how important Syme had been in securing excise-relief from the government for Australian distillers.  

Syme said he was “honoured and humbled to accept the induction into the hall of fame.”

“It’s not a short journey to be a simple country kid, to a lawyer, to a founder of three distilleries, to actually making some cracking whisky and gin, to being inducted into our industry’s hall of fame.”

Syme acknowledged the support of his family and friends, and the teams at the Limeburners, Giniversity and Tiger Snake distilleries.

He was also quick to thank Bill Lark himself, alongside Sullivan’s Cove’s Patrick Maguire, the late Gordon Mitchell of Arran whisky, and rum-maker Spike Dessert, who passed away in 2017.

The organisers of the Awards were also credited for their support, particularly the Founder of the Australian Whisky Appreciation Society, Niko Devlin.

There was a word too, for the whisky drinkers themselves: “To all the fans – regardless of which distillery you support – thank you.”

“This is for all of you. The fact that Australia now has a burgeoning and successful industry of global standing is down to the support we get.”

Finally, Syme was also keen to encourage his fellow distillers who were just starting out.

“For those earlier in the journey: don’t listen to the nay-sayers, the downers, the negative energy people – surround yourself with positive energy people.”

“Be kind, and dole out ‘good karma’, which I know from Bill and Lynn [Lark] particularly.”

“And to every kid who grew up in the middle of ‘Bum-fuck Australia’ – remember: ‘dream, believe, achieve.’”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *