Sullivans Cove Whisky head distiller Patrick Maguire was this week awarded the highest individual recognition in the whisky industry when he was inducted into the global Icons of Whisky Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Adelaide.
A rare honour
Maguire is the 50th member to be inducted into the global roll call of the world's leading whisky identities, and only the second Australian behind the man considered 'the godfather' of Australian whisky, Bill Lark. The Hall of Fame comprises distillers, blenders, owners and writers who have helped to shape the whisky landscape.
"It's humbling to be included in such an incredible group of people from the world of whisky," Maguire says.
"When we were playing around with stills and barrels in the early days, I never would have imagined that I'd end up here. We just made the whisky we wanted to drink, and we're so proud that other people from this industry around the world think that's a thing worth celebrating."
At Sullivans Cove, Maguire oversaw numerous award-winning single malt whiskies – most notably the French Oak Cask expression that was judged the world's best single malt in 2014, and the American Oak Cask that collected the same prestigious award in 2018. Sullivans Cove is now regarded as the darling of Australian and Tasmanian whisky production, with their awarded bottles fetching prices in the thousands of dollars in the second-hand market.
Other luminaries of the whisky industry to be inducted into the Icons of Whisky Hall of Fame include Seiichi Koshimizu, the chief blender emeritus of the acclaimed Suntory Yamazaki distillery, David Stewart, the master blender at Balvenie, and John Teeling, the man regarded as the father of the Irish whisky renaissance.
Maguire is a pivotal figure in the rise of the Tasmanian whisky industry, as one of a handful of pioneers including Bill Lark who saw the potential in local production late in the 1990s, well before craft distilling took off in Australia.
Sullivans Cove production manager Heather Tillott was also recognised at the same ceremony as Highly Commended in the Master Distiller/Blender category.