Highwayman Whisky, Dan Woolley’s one-man whisky startup: S10E9

Dan Woolley, founder Highwayman Whisky

Based in Byron Bay, Highwayman Whisky released its first bottlings in 2020.

We’ve heard a lot on the Drinks Adventures podcast about how there’s a shake-up coming for Australian whisky, as larger players enter the market with products designed to compete on price with some of the big international brands.

But of course, there will always be a place for smaller, artisan distillers producing quality whiskies that cater for enthusiasts.

Highwayman Whisky is one such distillery. It was founded by Dan Woolley, a longtime whisky industry professional who most recently was ambassador for the Beam Suntory portfolio of brands.

This coveted role gave him a backstage pass to globally renowned distilleries throughout Scotland, Kentucky and Japan.

Dan Woolley, founder Highwayman Whisky
Dan Woolley, founder Highwayman Whisky – picture courtesy Kirra Pendergast

Dan started to lay down his own spirit in his chosen casks back home in Australia starting in 2016, and the first Highwayman first bottlings launched last year sold out in minutes.

Whisky is a hugely capital intensive spirit to make, so I asked Dan how he went about establishing his own brand despite having very limited resources at his disposal.

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