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The Rise of Whiskey Appreciation Society’s

September 29, 2022

What is a Whiskey Appreciation Society?

A whiskey appreciation society is a unique way to celebrate your favourite spirit. These organisations are dedicated to promoting appreciation and knowledge of whiskeys through social events and education. There are several kinds of whiskey appreciation societies and they meet in different locations including bars, hotels, restaurants, online and sometimes even private homes. Each society has their own rules and regulations.

The History of Whiskey Appreciation Society’s in Australia

As the love of whiskey and the range of whiskey has grown in Australia, so has the prevalence of whiskey clubs. The first recognised in Australia were started by bottle shops in the 50’s who recognised the demand for high quality whiskeys and the lack of knowledge around them.

Whisky Appreciation Societies - How They Work & What They Offer

Each whiskey group functions in different ways, but they all have members passionate about learning more about whiskey, talking about whiskey and drinking whiskey. If you go to an event you are bound to learn something about this special liquors history, production process and different styles, finessing your palate (and no doubt buying more) in the process.

Some societies focus on bottle shares where everyone brings a bottle to try with the group and some pay a fee where the collated funds are used to purchase bottles to share. Some will have a guest distiller or a guest speaker. Regardless of the event structure or location, you’ll find like-minded whiskey connoisseurs sharing stories about their favourite whiskeys, learn about different whiskeys and learn more about how to drink whiskey like a pro (with the added benefit of no doubt making drunk new friends.

What are the best clubs for me to join?

Keen to try one out but don’t know where to go? Below is a list of Australian societies (in no particular order of preference), where they are and what they are about.

Australian Whisky Appreciation Society – (AWAS)

For those of you who live remotely or don’t want to venture out yet, AWAS are an active community of whiskey lovers who are based online on Facebook.

Founded: 2014
Location: Online (Facebook)

Dram Full

This society is an interactive online community as well as a whisky club. They hold events across the country.

Locations: Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Hobart.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

This society is one of the world’s leading whiskey clubs, and they offer some amazing benefits to their members, including access to private cask whiskeys made just for their society.

Founded: 1983
Across Australia

Queensland Malt Whisky Society

Holding monthly meetings for tastings, this society has gatherings hosted by either invited brand ambassadors or experienced club members.

Location: Brisbane

Oak Barrel

Oak Barrel is an independent liquor store with its own whiskey club and is one of the oldest Whiskey Appreciation Society’s in Australia.

Founded: 1956
Location: Sydney, NSW

World of Whisky

Like the Oak Barrel, the World of Whiskey is also a liquor store that hosts whiskey tasting events. It also happens to be in Sydney.

Founded:  2010
Sydney, NSW

The Wild Rover Whisky Co-Operative

Founded in a popular and dimly lit bar in Surrey Hills, this Whiskey Appreciation Society is playful, extravagant and rustic.

Founded: 2014
Location: Surry Hills, NSW

Single Malt Appreciation Club of Albury

A little more off the beaten track than the other society’s on this list, the Single Malt Appreciation Club of Albury welcomes experts and novices alike, whether members get together to taste whiskey and talk about what they’ve tasted.

Location: Albury, NSW

Tasmania Whisky Appreciation Society

A thriving location in the Australian Whiskey scene, Tasmania is currently in the midst of a crafty whisky boom, so if you’re in Tassie this is definitely a club to check out. 

Founded: 2006
Location: Across Tasmania

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