Kangaroo Island Spirits to produce whisky

20 August, 2018 by Andy Young

Kangaroo Island Spirits (KIS) is embarking on a project to make its first whisky, and the first that will come from the South Australian island.

Owned by Jon and Sarah Lark, KIS is using barley that has been grown on the island for its whisky and Jon said he is looking forward to seeing how is whisky will differ from that produced by his brother Bill.


“Kangaroo Island is a very different island, and we can’t wait to see how its unique environs will be reflected in the whisky we produce here,” Lark said. “We have always looked to using local resources as far as possible, so we are really excited that the barley we’ll be using in the wash has been grown right here.”

The maltings for the whisky come from the same Westminster barley that Coopers Brewery used in its 2018 Vintage Ale and has been processed by the new Coopers malting plant. Maltings Manager, Dr Doug Stewart, said: “We used some of this malt to produce the premium quality Coopers 2018 Vintage Ale, and we are delighted that it is now also to be used in the distillation of high quality spirits. It comes from a pristine environment, it is something a little bit different, and it is marketed as such.”

The grain is grown by Kangaroo Island Pure Grain and the company’s representative Dennis Jamieson said it was “excited to be part of a local project of such significance. Our beautiful island is known for its pristine environment and produce, and I’m confident the whisky will reflect this in its excellent quality.”

In addition to the local malt KIS will being using local port barrels, sourced from Bay of Shoals winery. They’re planning monthly runs to begin to build a store of whisky for future release, and expect to offer the first release by the end of 2020.

Brother Bill Lark said he was looking forward to being able to enjoy a dram: ” “I have been involved in the Australian Whisky Industry for some 26 years and seen its reputation grow to become highly regarded and recognised throughout the world.

“Given the recognition and achievement of Jon and Sarah and the team at Kangaroo Island Spirits with their award-winning gins and their dedication to quality, I am excited to see that they are going to produce Single Malt Whisky on KI using barley grown on the island. With the reputation of KIS together with that of KI to produce high quality products, I now look forward with much anticipation to their first release of KIS whisky.”