PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
In the early rollicking, rolling colonial days, Hobart Town boasted 16 distilleries and a pub for every 200 inhabitants - until the so-called "petticoat government" took over, and the governor's wife convinced her husband to ban all distilleries and sly-grog shops in the colony in 1839. The ban lasted 153 years, until Bill and Lyn Lark thought a little of Tasmania's Franklin barley, some peat from the Central Highlands and a drop of mountain water popped through a still and into a barrel might well make a good whisky - and had the ban overturned in 1992.
A sharp learning curve later, their small-keg-aged single malt whisky is as good as you'll find this side of Islay and their Slainte pure malt spirit liqueur, from the run's heart of the heart, is even better. There's an apple brandy mellowing away in casks and, on the shelves for tastings or a nip, Cherry Max, Pepperberry gin, vodka and liqueur, and apple schnapps and liqueur - great mixers, better neat. And, oh yes - there's also good coffee and a few Tasmanian boutique ales and wines, while the ploughman's lunch and cheese platters are little more than easy excuses to sample some of their great liquid food.