The Island State’s prolonged evolution this week took a giant Tassie Devil-sized leap forward after the name and guernsey design of its long-awaited AFL team was unveiled.

Mainlanders could almost feel the pride bristling across the Bass Strait, even though the moniker (the Devils) and the map of Tassie design didn’t exactly stretch the imaginative capacity of the marketing ideators.

We won’t dampen the warm glow by mentioning the wee issue of who pays what for the requisite $715 million Hobart stadium – a key wrestling point in this weekend’s blink-and-you-will-miss-it state election.

Monday’s grand reveal shows just how far the state has come, notwithstanding concerns that an influx of mainlanders has again turned into an outflow.

These days, Tasmania’s economic renaissance is more about wooing visitors with fine cheeses and boutique whiskies than whining chainsaws.

Want to barrack for Team Tasmania investment-wise? Here’s a quick heads-up.

In truth, the ranks of Tassie-domiciled ASX-listed companies have shrunk in recent times, with salmon farmers Tassal and Huon Aquaculture both privatised.

The once tearaway infant formula play Bellamy’s was acquired by Chinese interests, but remains Launceston-based.

With a $380 million market cap, the Hobart-based regional bank and wealth manager MyState (ASX:MYS) is now Tassie’s foremost ASX flag-bearer. (MyState results from the merger of two local credit unions, Tasmanian Perpetual and the Rockhampton-based Rock Building Society.)

MyState’s December half results were off the pace, with reported net profit declining 6 per cent to $17.5 million. So too was home lending growth, with management opting to moderate its expansive ambitions in favour of protecting interest margins amid fierce competition.

Relative to its big four peers, MyState has a cleaner mortgage book, with no loans in mortgage possession and an across-the-board loan-to-valuation ratio of a prudent 56 per cent. Of course that’s partly the result of still-affordable real estate, with $1 million still buying a nice Hobart pile rather than a broom cupboard in western Sydney.

For a while, whisky and gin house Lark Distilling (ASX:LRK) became better known for the shenanigans of former CEO Geoff Bainbridge, after a video emerged of him partaking in a substance even stronger than the company’s firewater.

Under new CEO Satya Sharma, the company again is becoming known for its boutique whiskies that can sell for more than $200 a bottle. Lark posted a small loss in the half year and revenue declined 23 per cent to $7.4 million, if only because of a release of matured product in the previous stanza.

Lark’s fortunes are supported by the 2.4 million litres of whisky maturing in its vats, reflected in the company’s $62 million inventory valuation.

By its nature, making returns from whisky requires a patience that may be elusive. Drinking the stuff and appreciating the peaty smoky undertones often seems the preferable ‘investment’.

Tasmania’s unadulterated pastures are well known for other artisan foodstuffs and punter might want to take a nibble at TasFoods (ASX:TFL) as it undergoes a much-needed financial health kick.

A purveyor of “pure Tasmanian goodness”, TasFoods last August sold its Betta Milk and Meander Valley brands – fiercely parochial household names in the state for 65 years – to Bega Group for $11m.

TasFoods will focus on its Pyengana Cheese and Nichols Poultry operations and its recently launched Isle & Sky premium pet foods.

In calendar 2023 TasFoods reported a small loss on $47.8 million of revenue from the continuing operations, down 14 per cent.

With the divestment proceeds used to demolish debt, TasFoods is in a net cash position with net assets of $17.6 million. But given the company’s paltry $9 million market capitalisation, management looks to be having a devil of a time getting the goals on the board.

With the state heaving in AFL talent, we expect the Devils to have no such problem.

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