Lark Distilling is set to acquire Pontville Distillery and Estate, owned by Kernke Family Shene Estate, for $40 million, split between $38.5m in cash and $1.5m in Lark shares to be issued to vendors. The acquisition will accelerate Lark’s export strategy by twelve months.
To fund the acquisition, Lark is undertaking an equity raise of $53 million, including a $13 million development of a new 1 million litre greenfield distillery on the Pontville site. Construction is expected to commence in early 2022.
Geoff Bainbridge, Managing Director Lark Distilling said, “This builds on our vision to become the world’s most innovative distiller…
“These assets provide significant whisky inventories on value accretive terms and re-balance the maturity profile of our overall whisky under maturation. Critically, the age profile and quality of the whisky under maturation being acquired will enable The House of Lark to commence an export programme from FY23 which is approximately 12 months ahead of previously published plans.”
Lark now expects to have 2+ million litres of whisky under maturation at 30 June 2022, valued at $435m.
Located 30 minutes north of Hobart at Pontville, the distillery and estate includes 40 acres of land and buildings, a 130,000 litre distillery, a cellar door, eight bond stores, a working cooperage and the historic stables and homestead. It will make Lark the only distillery with on-site cooperage in Tasmania.
Pontville will become Lark’s third working distillery in Tasmania, alongside its Cambridge and Bothwell sites and will contribute to the inhouse production of 576,000 litres of Lark whisky each year.
Bill Lark, Founder and Global Ambassador at Lark Distilling Co, said “Lark at Pontville points to the exciting future of Australian whisky. I could never have imagined 30 years ago from my kitchen bench, where that very first bottle of Lark was made, that in 2022 we’d be producing some of the world’s best whiskies across three exceptional distilleries right here in Tasmania and all from Australia’s first certified carbon-neutral distiller.”
Lark at Pontville will commence distilling from February 2022 with its cellar door open to the public from this date. All whisky distilling, product innovation and development will continue to be led by Lark’s Master Distiller Chris Thomson and his team.
For the second year in a row, Lark has been nominated for the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) Worldwide Whiskey Producer of the Year, with the winner to be announced in Edinburgh, Scotland on October 21, 2021.