History of the Whisky Fair

The Sydney Whisky Fair is an annual event that celebrates the world of whisky and brings together enthusiasts, collectors, and industry professionals from all over the world. The event is held in Sydney, Australia, and features some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after whiskies.
The initial Sydney Whisky Fair had its inception in 2010 when Laura Brown of Frolic Events, together with Simon Clarke, then manager of The Oak Barrel, proposed to have a series of curated tastings in our tasting room. The event was a huge success, with over 100 people attending and tasting more than 70 different whiskies.
Compared to what it has become, this original Fair was tiny, never-the-less, it was a smash-hit and the event sold out near-instantly; planning started for a follow up event the next year which, again, sold out quickly.
In the years since its inception, the Sydney Whisky Fair has grown in popularity and size, attracting more visitors and exhibitors every year. The event now showcases over 200 whiskies from around the world and features masterclasses, tastings, and seminars.
Some will remember 2012 when The Fair added some theatre to the event: few who were there will forget Piper Ben Davidson and James Buntin’s “Address To A Haggis” by Robbie Burns
COVID curtailed the Fair format for Whisky Fair, as it did for nearly every aspect of life; and The Fair was forced to pivot to an online format, Whisky Forum under the direction of Scott Fitzsimons. However, after three years, 2022 saw the return of a physical Fair; it was great seeing so many whisky lovers together in one room again!
Throughout the years, The Oak Barrel’s Whisky Professionals – including Simon Clarke, Dave Withers, Scott Fitzsimons, and currently Joshua Fischer – have procured a number of exceptional whiskies as exclusive bottlings for the Fair. This tradition will continue in 2023!
The event provides an opportunity for lovers of whisky to meet with industry experts, learn about the latest trends and techniques in whisky-making, and sample some of the most exclusive and rare whiskies available.
We have been blessed over the years to host some of the best exhibitors in the industry. Their generosity and willingness to share their whisky, their knowledge and their passion is a huge part of what makes Whisky Fair as special as it is. Of course, it is ultimately you who makes Sydney Whisky Fair what it is; without our Oak Barrel whisky community, our whisky family, who support the event each year it simply wouldn’t be possible. Thank you all!