January 13, 2014 – Two of Australia’s leading whisky distillers are joining forces, as the investor group that acquired a majority stake in Lark Distillery last summer has now agreed to acquire Old Hobart Distillery, which produces Overeem Whisky. Casey and Jane Overeem agreed to sell their distillery to Lark’s owners effective January 17, and Overeem will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Lark Distillery Pty Ltd.
In a news release, both parties announced that Casey Overeem will go into “semi-retirement” while working in quality control and occasional promotional work as needed. Jane Overeem will stay on as Marketing Manager for both Lark and Overeem brands, and will also serve as Overeem’s principal brand ambassador. The two whisky brands will continue to be produced separately, while sales and marketing operations will be combined.
Lark founders Bill and Lyn Lark agreed last July to sell a majority stake in their family-owned company to a group of Hobart-based investors led by Troy Trewin, who will serve as CEO for both Lark and Overeem after the deal closes. Lyn Lark stepped aside on January 1, while keeping a non-executive seat on the company’s board. Bill Lark is scaling back his work with the company, but will continue to serve as Lark’s global brand ambassador. The Larks founded their distillery in 1992, when they received the first license to distill whisky in Tasmania since 1839. Since then, they’ve been the unofficial leaders of Australia’s growing whisky distilling industry. For more details on the Lark family, you can listen to a 2007 interview with Bill Lark in Episode 96 of WhiskyCast.
We have reached out to both companies for interviews, and this story will be updated as more information is available.