By Stefanie Collins, editor BARS&clubs
Internationally-renowned and awarded distillery Sullivans Cove has been sold to a family-owned company based in Melbourne.
While the sale price remains undisclosed, the Tasmanian whisky powerhouse produces major award-winning whiskies, and is also sought after by whisky collectors and fans alike.
According to Nathan Campbell, Sales and Marketing Manager for Sullivans Cove Single Malt Whisky at the Tasmania Distillery, the sale will help the brand to reach its full potential.
“We’ve been acquired by a family run, Melbourne-based business, basically with the intention of looking to grow the brand and realise the potential that we have built up over the last 13 years under Patrick’s direction and ownership,” he told TheShout. “We’re looking to take Sullivans Cove and Tasmanian whisky to the next level.”
Campbell went on to say that the distillery has been “in the position” of seeking a buyer for the last 12 months as part of a “long-term strategy” to fulfil the potential that they see in the market.
“With the, now previous, arrangement and the actual mechanics of day-to-day operations, we were only going to be able to grow so much,” he said.
He also clarified that it was of the utmost importance to the brand that it found someone aligned with its values.
Campbell added: “So it’s been something that we have been thinking about for a little while now and obviously it was very important for us that we sign with someone who shares the same values and beliefs around maintaining that quality and looking to build as opposed to anything else.”
While Campbell says that the sale is “fantastic news for consumers” very little will change on the ground for the distillery team.
He told TheShout: “There will be the same nuts and bolts. But as far as production goes, it will be up-scaled, we will basically be doing what we’re doing now, but more often. Which translates into more barrels going down, which translates into more product in 10-12 years’ time, which is the length of time we mature our whisky for.”
As to whether this sale will trigger a domino effect of further sales of craft distilleries like has been seen in the craft beer industry of late, Campbell is sceptical.
He said: “Probably not so much. I think there’s a certain point where you become desirable, whether it’s to Australian Whisky Holdings or another family that has a particular interest within the industry, but as far as more takeovers go – potentially in the future, but I wouldn’t suggest that it would be something that will happen in the immediate period.”
He does however note that the sale “will do wonders for legitimising the Tasmanian whisky industry and making the bigger guys sit up and take notice”.