Australian Distillers Dinner 2018


We are pleased, excited and getting thirsty to confirm the details for this year’s annual Australian Distillers Dinner.

One of our most anticipated nights of the year, the Dinner will once again be happening on the eve of Sydney Whisky Fair – this year Thursday 23 August. An intimate, sit-down event with whisky producers from all over the country, we’ll welcome some new faces to the dinner in 2018.

Each distiller will be bringing something special with them, that may or may not be released and certainly not something widely available. We’ll intersperse the drams with a multi-course meal, themed around whisky.

One big change for this year is the location. In order to have a little bit more space and let a couple more people in, we’ve moved out of The Oak Barrel Cellar Room. Instead we’ll be on a rooftop just near Central station, enjoying the sun set as we chat about whisky.

The address is Level 3, 1-9 Buckingham Street Surry Hills, 30 seconds walk from Central Station (Devonshire St tunnel exit).

Joining us in 2018, for the first time at a Dinner, will be Peter Bignell from Belgrove Distillery. One of Australia’s most innovative distillers, Tasmania’s Belgrove is also one of the world’s greenest. Growing his own rye and grains and running his distillery of bio-fuel, Peter is a wealth of knowledge and stories (as we know from his previous visits). Now one of the elder statesmen of Australia’s young whisky scene, we are very proud to confirm Peter for 2018.

We’re also chuffed to welcome Gareth and Angela Andrews from South Australia’s Fleurieu Distillery for their very first visit to Sydney as whisky distillers (in fact, it’s their first visit back to Sydney for any reason in decades). They quietly released their first whisky last year and as the word – and booze – has spread the accolades have quickly followed. Already multi award winners, the couple of bottles we’ve sampled at tasting nights at The Oak Barrel have been fantastically received so we’re excited to welcome them to town.

As usual, the Distillers Dinner is a mix of established and emerging distillers – we’ll try whisky and some progress reports from distilleries well on their way. This year’s newcomer is close to home – the Craft Works Distillery in Capertee. Craig ‘Crafty’ Field is one of the newest whisky distillers in Australia and also one of the most passionate. With an infectious enthusiasm for the juice, he’ll be digging through his barrels to find something tasty for us to try.

We last had Archie Rose’s Dave Withers – himself an Oak Barrel graduate – at the Distillers Dinner in 2016, when we tried some amazing six-month old peated stock. As the Rosebery distillery edges closer to its first whisky release, we’ll check back in with our most local of distilleries. A lot has happened in those 24 months (they’re building a whole second distillery!) so plenty to talk celebrate on the Archie Rose front.

Photos from 2017 by May Lawrence

We’re also happy to announce that we’ve managed to reduce the ticket price for this year’s event considerably (about $50), compared to 2016 and ‘17.

The menu is below, and we might throw in a few surprises on the night!



Heirloom tomato, grape, salted yolks, bruschetta

Prosciutto, gorgonzola mousse, balsamic fig, almond shortbread


Whiskey cured ocean trout nutmeg cream, foraged greens

Smoked duck breast, beetroot, raspberry and blood plum

Sides: Oven roasted seasonal vegetables and fennel, winter leaves, almonds, apricot


Cowra lamb rump glazed carrots, freekeh, peas clotted buttermilk


Grown up pecan pie vanilla ice cream, chocolate butterscotch sauce

Coffee and whiskey fudges


Level 3, 1-9 Buckingham Street Surry Hills. It is half a block from Central Station, at the Devonshire St exit. There is a bit of Light Rail construction work around, so please bear that in mind if you’re getting dropped off.

Doors from 6pm, upon arrival head up the elevator to level three. Welcome drinks on arrival and we’ll sit down to start proceedings at 6.30pm.


Peter Bignell (Belgrove)
Gareth & Angela Andrews (Fleurieu)
Dave Withers (Archie Rose)
Craig Field (Craft Works)

In the lead up to the sold-out Sydney Whisky Fair 2018 The Oak Barrel will be hosting a number of ‘Fair Masterclasses’. These will provide an opportunity to get up close and personal with brands and distilleries, with plenty of time to mull over drams and ask plenty of questions. We run them as satellite events so you’re not drawn away from the tables during the main event and so you have plenty of time with each whisky without the allure of other shiny things!

WHAT: Australian Distillers Dinner 2018
WHERE: AEONA, Level 3, 1-9 Buckingham Street Surry Hills
Thursday 23 August, doors open 6pm for a 6.30pm start
PRICE: Members $150 / Non-Members $170

Please advise at the checkout ‘Special Request’ section if you have any dietary requirements.

Menu and guests subject to change due to availability and/or unforeseen circumstances.