Chris Malcolm, founder Hidden Lake Whisky

Chris Malcolm, founder Hidden Lake Whisky

Update: 2022-07-27
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We’re joined this episode by Chris Malcolm from recently launched Tasmanian whisky brand, Hidden Lake.

If Chris’s name sounds familiar to you, that’s because he’s had a hand in several of the most significant Australian whisky ventures of the last decade.

Chris was an early investor in Lark Distillery — going on to become its executive chairman and then CEO of the related entity, Australian Whisky Holdings.

He was an early investor in, and director of, Top Shelf International, and he’s currently a director of leading oak barrel supplier, Master Cask, whose founder Darren Langhe we met back in March 2020.

Today, Chris is director of group whisky production for ASX-listed craft beverages accelerator Mighty Craft, a role that gives him oversight of distilleries including Kangaroo Island Spirits, 78 Degrees – formerly known as Adelaide Hills Distillery – and Seven Seasons.

Joining that portfolio is Hidden Lake, Chris’s personal project launched in partnership with Mighty Craft.

And there’s a rather colourful backstory here, as Hidden Lake’s first whiskies were originally distilled at Tasmania’s controversial Nant Distillery.

To recap, Nant collapsed in 2017 in a cloud of fraudulent activity that cost small investors upwards of $20 million.

We had Lark’s former managing director Geoff Bainbridge on the podcast to talk about untangling the Lark brand from Nant in November 2020.

Now it’s time for Chris to tell his side of that story. He says it was Lark’s “lowball” offer to investors – those are definitely his words, not mine – that enabled him to get his hands on some of Nant’s best barrels.

Some of those have begun hitting the market under the Hidden Lake name. And meanwhile, he’s laying down more whisky, while looking to acquire a distillery that will be the production home of Hidden Lake.

That’s just some of what’s coming up in this wide-ranging interview with Chris.

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Chris Malcolm, founder Hidden Lake Whisky

Chris Malcolm, founder Hidden Lake Whisky

Australian Wine