Boann Distillery

Boann is one of Ireland’s newer distilleries, nestled in the Boyne Valley just south of Drogheda. The distillery sits in a former car dealership making it possibly one of the most aesthetically pleasing distilleries in the country, with wall to ceiling glass surrounding the entire building showcasing the gleaming copper pot stills within.

Boann Distillery is the brainchild of the Cooney family, who are by no means newcomers to the Irish drinks industry. They have built an extensive portfolio of products across several drinks sectors over the years, and now they have turned their gaze to the creation of their own whiskey, gin, and beer in Co. Meath.
What I love about the Cooneys, is that they take the term “family business” to another level. Almost everyone within their organisation is family, from management to marketing to sales everybody is family in one way or another and they all seem more determined than each other to make Boann a big success.

photo-family
The Cooney family. Source: boanndistillery.ie

The pleasurable aesthetics of the distillery are also continued inside. Its not only the pot stills that are designed to be eye catching but the rest of the distillery floor has been designed to be a welcoming space to distillers and visitors alike. They’ve gone the extra mile to create a great looking distillery, which when opened is planned to host thousands of visitors a year. Distillery equipment can be quite cold and industrial but Boann have managed to make their distillery floor a warm and welcoming space, that looks over the colourful fields of rapeseed planted right outside the windows. For example, the mash converter and the mash tun are both clad in Irish oak which complement the exposed oak ceiling beams very well and the distillery floor must be the only one in the world that boasts Italian marble!

Looks don’t make a distillery, so whats the operation actually like? 
Simply put, its exciting but incomplete. The stills are the heart beat of any whisk(e)y distillery and as can be seen in the photo below the Boann stills are in place but their lyne arms (pipe bringing vapour from top of the still to the condenser) are waiting patiently to be attached. That’s it. That’s all that’s “incomplete”, now onto the “exciting” bits.

Distilleries take great pride in designing their stills, the shape of the stills and angle of the lyne arm are going to be major components in the type of whiskey that they produce.
So when the guys in Boann were designing their stills they decided that they wanted to take inspiration from the old Dublin distilleries that helped make Irish pot still whiskey so renowned. Thus they designed squat and bulbous pot stills, which you can see below, with descending lyne arms. Not only this but they have specially commissioned these stills to have nano-reflux inducers, increasing the copper contact within the stills to six times that of a traditional still. Using these stills the Cooney family are hoping to create hearty Irish pot still as well as a range of full bodied single malt whiskeys. I think it is great to see another distillery specifically design its set up to create quality pot still Irish whiskey. I personally can’t wait until these stills are fired up and we get the first look at the liquid future.

IMG_8610
As if the nano-technology stills, floor to ceiling windows and marble floors weren’t unique enough, the team at Boann have also decided to add another feather to their cap of doing things their own way by putting the maturation warehouse right beneath their feet! They’re going to be using the space right under the stills to mature the thousands of barrels of whiskey that they will produce every year! Adding to the visitors’ experience, the guests of Boann distillery will be able to journey into the bowels of the building and see, feel and most certainly smell the whiskey ageing in a menagerie of casks, such as bourbon, sherry, burgundy, marsala, Tokaj (wine from the Torkaj region in Hungary or Slovakia) and many more.

078 Basement 3d dark
Artist’s rendering of the maturation warehouse below the floors of Boann distillery.

What about the present I hear you ask?
Well presently they are in the process of releasing their own range of single malt whiskeys called “The Whistler”. The range will consist of a seven year old (a.k.a. the blue note), a ten year old and a seven year old cask strength. I had the privilege to try these new expressions, while in the distillery and here’s what I thought.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 9.55.59 p.m.

The spirits are coming from another distillery but the guys in Boann have transferred them into oloroso sherry casks where they have spent the last two years maturing away. This makes for a seriously long sherry finish for current standards and it really shows through beautifully in the whiskey.
The Irish market at the moment is currently awash with independent brands but in my opinion “The Whistler” series is seriously one to look out for.
I will make special note of the 7 year old Blue Note, which was definitely my favourite and I would not be surprised to see it rack up some serious awards in the years to come.

The Whistler Single Malt Family (1).png
The Whistler single malt whiskey range.

The guys at Boann have serious drive to make the distillery a big success. I think that they’ve definitely got the ambition and the experience to make something good there! This is a project that I am particularly excited to see begin. So I’m definitely gonna keep an eye out for!

Sláinte

Dair Ghaelach – The New Big Investment?

Dair Ghaelach (which means “Irish oak” in Irish) is the new release from the Midleton pot still range. A premium pot still release that has been matured for 15-22 years in ex bourbon casks finished in virgin Irish oak for ten months.

midletonDairGhaelach-preview-770x470

This is the first time in a very long time that Irish Oak has been used to finish Irish Whiskey so this is most certainly an interesting release. Ten oak trees were felled from Ballaghtobin Estate in Co. Kilkenny, from here the trees were numbered and sent to Spain to be quarter sawn into staves before being made into 48 unique Irish oak barrels. They are then medium toasted before being shipped back to Cork to be filled and rest until the premium spirit is ready. The distillate was tasted once a week, every week to ascertain whether or not the whiskey had reached its finishing point, after the ten month mark it had completed it’s journey. Bottled at cask strength and individually numbered by batch, bottle and more importantly tree they are now on sale for €260 in Ireland. Each tree having its own affect on the final taste of the whiskey so every release has its own characteristics. The general tones are well balanced, subtly flavoured with chocolate, caramel and toasted notes complementing the Irish oak tones very well.

There have been several exciting releases from IDL in recent years with their pot still Midleton range; Midleton Pearl, Midleton 30 and Barry Crockett legacy to name a few, but none have had the individualism that these individually numbered releases have in Dair Ghaelach.

dec-meal-400
Having a complete collection of Midleton very rare back from the initial release in 1984 increases the total value than just the sum of its individual parts, boasting a juicy price tag of €50,000 on the second hand market. The word on the street is that IDL are pegging this new release as the next big investment. They are releasing this line tree by tree as not to flood the market all at once, apparently. Already they are seeing collectors rushing to purchase each new tree as it has been released in an apparent bid to compile a complete set. At a whopping €2,340 for the nine bottles (supposedly the tenth tree was used for parts where needed), it is true that very few will even be able to compile the full collection but will there be the high end desirability for this whiskey down the line? Midleton Very Rare investment has paid dividends after 30 years. This could be some long game investment that not every Joe bloggs could afford. Although, this seems to be a major talking point of the new release and perhaps these premonitions of increased desirability due to a complete set will come true, who knows for certain.

But with large distilleries all over Ireland and the word putting out limited releases on almost a monthly basis will the Dair Ghaelach stick it’s head above the parapet and become an icon like the Very Rare range before it? I’m cautiously doubtful, at its ultra-premium price point but that’s just the opinion of this man.

That said, this does not detract from the ingenuity that this represents coming from IDL. Adapting for the ever evolving Irish Whiskey market, showing the world that we can create premium, delicious whiskey that is not simply a combination of ex-bourbon and ex oloroso sherry casks we see so often. IDL are doing great things and I look forward to seeing the Dair Ghaelach fight for its place in the big leagues and perhaps see a close relative make its way from Midleton sometime soon if it does!

Whether or not sinking your wages into this new project from Midleton I am very excited to see for myself first hand what the new Irish oak finish evokes on the taste buds and also what other interesting ideas Ger Buckley and the other four masters in Midleton come up with in this new spirit of innovation (no pun intended).

So all that remains is to ask…. Do You think that all nine trees are worth collecting? Am I way off the ball here? Or perhaps you might fight my corner with me? Either way I’d love to hear opinions on the matter so comment and let me know!

New Green Spot on the horizon

IMG_5685

So summer is in the air and as is a brand new release from Irish Distillers and Mitchell and Sons! Green Spot finished in Bordeaux wine casks! Supposedly chosen due to their long history with the Irish, the Chateau Leoville Barton! 

(check out the background info on Barton here http://www.donnybrookfair.ie/files/pdf/history_of_barton_guestier.pdf)

The launch of this new Green Spot will be approx. June 2/3rd this year in Bordeaux. Extremely exciting for fans of Irish whiskey not only because of the new flavours that will be presented with the traditional pot still spices but the fact that IDL generally don’t release special finish bottlings, rather preferring to release entirely new lines instead. This in itself will make for some exciting news, keeping an eye to see if IDL have opened their doors to new innovations, something which will hopefully become abundant as this Irish whiskey renaissance matures. 

The word on the street is that this is targeted at the U.S. market but it has already been spotted in catelogues for the French market so hopefully we will see these lining our shelves in Europe mid June as well. 

IMG_5681

I don’t know about you but I am extremely excited to see exactly what this tastes like myself but for now I will have to make due with just the tasting notes! 

Nose: French oak, crispy woodland notes which lend themselves to the spicy pot still character. The wine seasoning brings a delicate touch of floral perfume and ripe berries such as raspberries and strawberries, they are in addition to the orchard fruits of the traditional green spot flavours.

Palate: the familiar mouth coating effect is a very satisfying balance of oak and spices. Some vanilla sweetness works in harmony with the dry wine influence, while the fresh orchard fruits and French oak combine effortlessly with the barley grains to complete the complexity.

Finish: the rich French oak character is slow to fade leaving the wine and spices of France and Ireland with the last word.

Paddy Whiskey’s bizarre map of Ireland – The history

paddyMany of us a very familiar with Paddy Whiskey. An affordable and tasty blend from Irish Distillers that lends it’s name from its legendary salesman from Co. Cork Paddy Flaherty. Supposedly very generous with tasting samples but sold buckets of the stuff and ultimately was honoured with his name on the bottle and IDL certainly earned a good story!

One thing that has never sat right with me in all my years of selling Paddy in bars either at home or abroad was the fact that the four provinces of Ireland are clearly outlined in the wrong colours. It’s a question I’ve asked many a whiskey enthusiast and many a IDL employee and I’ve come up short every time.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Irish provincial colours: Leinster are green, Munster red, Connacht are blue/white and Ulster are yellow/orange. (Don’t be fooled by the provincial rugby teams that seemed to randomly pick their colours themselves) Paddy’s current bottling proudly displays a yellow Leinster, a blue Munster, a red Connacht and a green Ulster. All provincial colours in all the wrong provinces! So I started to do some digging and see what I could uncover about the interesting choice in colour scheme. With my own digging and ultimately the help of Carol Quinn the archivist in Midleton House down in the old distillery we came up with the following:
The original colours in the 1860’s were: 
Leinster – Orange,
Munster – Brown,

Connacht – White

Ulster – Green.

In the 1880’s:

For a short time Connacht became a red polka dot on a white background.

The label featured several minor changes in the next twenty years.

Finally in 1900:

The label became what it is today!

Under this time the brand was owned by Cork Distillers. It seems that the provincial colours may have been coincidentally used on this relabelling after the 1800’s, I personally feel that this oversight would have at least occurred to somebody then. Surely having the provinces the right colour would be a further feather in its “genuine” Irish whiskey hat but whatever the finial reasoning the label has stayed in its skewed state for the last 115 years (a hell of long time for a label to remain essentially unchanged!).

So it seems that, right now, there is no definitive answer as to whether or not the colours are initially skewed just to annoy finicky whiskey drinkers like me or if it was a genuine mistake!

I still think that this inconclusive research is still worthy of seeing the light of day, even negative answers are still answers! Hopefully this will help anyone who’s like me and has an interest into this kinda thing! Plus It’s been a trivia fact that I’ve liked bringing up with customers and it’s always a good talking point! More knowledge = more tips 😉

If any of ye enthusiasts out there have any more info of ideas I’d love to hear it!

TL;DR: Paddy Whiskey’s label is wrong and nobody knows why.

Redbreast 15 – Review

redbreast-15-900x900

So with the announcement of Whisky Magazine’s World Whiskey Awards I thought I would put up my review of the World’s best pot still Redbreast 15 year old.

Now as I’m sure you’ve gathered from my previous posts and the title of this blog I am a huge pot still fan and I am absolutely delighted that Redbreast 15 took the crown at this year’s awards!

Colour: Golden yellow with a slight hint of red.

Nose: Warm, spice fruit cake, caramel, toffee saltiness, assortment of fruit and honey sweetness.

Palate: large open, full bodied, strong spice, honey sweetness, salty & oily body and slight hints of toasted oak.

Finish: Long finish. Saltiness remained, beautiful toasted oak.

Score: 95/100.

Definitely a step up from it’s younger brother, to be honest I wouldn’t have even said they were related if I hadn’t seen the packaging. That said I haven’t tried the 12 CS strength yet, which I hear gives this expression a run for its money. All in all, this is by far my favourite pot still whiskey out there and I haven’t a doubt in my mind why it won best pot still. It was originally released as a once off edition but was made a full time expression in IDL’s brilliant pot still range. I personally am appreciative of the special hand selections that the small run 12 CS, 15 and 21 get to ensure that they are the best the current casks have to offer.

I would put this in the top two best whiskeys I’ve tasted to this point in my existence, maybe that’ll change some day but for now I’m ensuring I’m never left without a bottle of 15.

TL;DR: Redbreast 15 is dram good!

Why it’s time to buy Irish Whiskey!

half us - half eu

Whiskey fans in the US, it’s time to buy Irish Whiskey.

With the recently announced Quantitative Easing plan announced my Mario Dragi in the European Central Bank €60 billion euro in assets are going to be purchased by the ECB and National Central Banks, each month until September 2016.
A big side effect of QE is with all this virtual money printing going on in the EU the Euro is steadily devaluing against foreign currencies. If we look at the US$ versus the Euro we’re almost seeing parity for (almost) the first time since Bush junior took power!

Enough with the Economics I suppose! 
What does this mean for us whiskey enthusiasts out there?

In Europe (I am referring to the Euro Zone as Europe for the remainder of this article) it means that we’re gonna start buying a lot of home grown whiskeys (not always a bad thing but I miss good dram of Pappy).
In the US its time to buy European whiskeys! Irish of course being the best on offer…. but I could just be biased!

**I’m actively excluding the UK from this article since their higher exchange rate has made it a good time to buy anything European for a while and with such close political and trade ties their exchange rate isn’t as effected as somewhere like the United States.
With the strength of the Euro depleting the consumers of the US are going to get more bang for their buck with European products! Whiskey fans in the states should be noticing a difference both in store and online. If not right now in store, very soon. This should only become more noticeable as we slip into parity. Now I can’t speak for the sneaky shop keepers who might keep the prices up (shakes fist) but its always worth an ask with your local and see what its like states side! I’d love to know what ye find!

Irish whiskey has a lot to offer so if you are stateside Irish whiskey has a lot to offer and places like the Celtic whiskey shop are happy to ship to our US whiskey fans!

With the current boom in Irish whiskey I can only see this QE as a fantastic catalyst for growth for the entire industry. With it in its infancy this new found affordability could be the first rung on the ladder to Irish whiskey reclaiming it’s place on the top of the whiskey world! We can hope I suppose! A the very least this should allow distillers in Ireland drastically grow the piece of mind and share of market in a country that is looking for quality and affordability in it’s whiskey!
I know many whiskey fans from the states who can’t wait for the price drops to reach their watering holes and are already picking up hard to find european whiskeys online and getting them shipped! Yes it still works out cheaper on the whole! Might be worth checking out!

So enjoy and keep an eye on those ever changing exchange rates cause while they’re low now there’s definitely wiggle room for the Euro to fall further and those of you in Dollar land can rake in the savings us Euro heads have been reaping for years!

TL;DR: Euro is weak, time to buy European whiskey.

Whiskey Wankers: Irish Whiskey

So we held our monthly tasting session last night so I’m going to post a quick round up and review of the bottles as well on a separate post. The theme of the evening was Irish whiskey, both pot still and single malt.

IMG_5389The Whiskey Wankers is a group of students from the east coast of Ireland that get together once a month to try some seriously good whiskey. We chose the name based on a not for profit whiskey group that I bartended for in Vancouver called “The Whisky Wisemen” seriously cool guys. Pursuing better knowledge of whiskey while raising money for charity. Check them out http://www.whiskywisemen.com/ . When I returned to Ireland I wanted to continue what a cool idea that was. We thought of stealing the name for ourselves but we realised that a group of twenty something year old students would sound like absolute wankers with a name like that. So we cut out the middle man and here we are today!

The buy in: set amount each month. 40 beans. Cheaper than a night out in Dublin. (fact) WAAAAY more fun than a night out in Dublin. (subjective fact).

I, with the best knowledge in the group, choose the theme of the meetings, set the line up, collect the money, buy the bottles and set up the tasting. I let them know the theme in advance but not the particular bottles. This stops people trying to cheat with the tasting notes (look better in front of the girls a.k.a. “whiskey wenches”…. they didn’t like being called “wankettes”).

SO ramble over…

We began our pot still journey with the infamous Mitchell & Son’s Green and Yellow spot. We continued our journey with one of my favourite pot stills, Redbreast 12 year old and completed the evening with Connemara single malt out of Cooley.

We had a mix of newbies and long time whiskey fans last night and I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised that the outright favourite was Connemara. I thought the pot still spice and its fruity flavours would win over the attendees but as they say like everything with whiskey “it depends”.

My main goal of the evening was to develop the groups awareness of the distinct Irish distilling method and show them exactly what Ireland had to offer. We’re nothing but a group of students in our twenties looking to try something different.

In the end I think it worked quite well. I began with a blind tasting, testing the groups nose and palate without the aids one gets from knowing their drink. Went down quite well and I certainly think that if I employ this method again I have learnt a lot about what I should have put in and things I can leave out. So we all learned a bit!

Over all we got to nerd out on different cask types and discuss different aspects of the production process which was cool. Everyone got very merry. The bottles this morning are hurting as much as our heads.

We laughed, we learned and drank some seriously good whiskey.
IMG_5392
Tl:DR: Group of wankers met up and drank really nice irish whiskey.

Abelour A’Bunadh – A Review

So with all the talk of Quarter Cask and A’bunadh convincing so many staunch anti-NAS fanatics I felt like I ought to give this at least a try! Had this dram in the lovely Albanch bar on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

Abelour A’bunadh – Batch 47. 60.7% Abv

Nose: ripe fruits, strong alcohol presence, raisins, candyshop sweetness, light honey comb.

Palate: Bright open with wood spice, warm, sweet sherry, demerara sugar, hints of marshmallow (Maeve’s input).

Finish: Sharp lingering spice, wood spice, sweetness, marshmallow again. Medium length.

Score: 82/100.

For a oloroso sherry casking I was pleasantly surprised that the taste wasn’t overpowering. Maybe in my mind the story behind A’bunadh was hyped up quite a bit but my opinions are I’d have it again, probably wouldn’t buy a bottle of it though myself.

TL:DR: A’bunadh was good. Nothing amazing. Over hyped.Abelour

Cadenhead’s Small Batch Little Mill – Review

Colour: Amber gold.

Nose (without water) : Toasted nuts, nugat, honey comb, hint of raisins.

Palate (w/o water): Delicate open, toasted wood, walnut, bourbon sweetness, light sherry influence,

Finish (w/o water): beautiful lingering of toasted wood, burnt sugar, slight lingering spice and finally some light sherry notes.

====

Nose (with water): Sweet honeycomb, nut, toasted wood, raisin/sherry completely gone.

Palate (water): Spice and sherry influences gone, Candyshop sweetness remained.

Finish (water): light and short, toasted wood, burnt sugar.

Score: 92/100. 

Double distilled, toasted bourbon barrels with a quick finish in sherry casks. Delicious combination.

I tried this at a local bar that was suggested by the staff at Cadenhead’s. After trying it I went straight back to shop to try buy a bottle it was that good. I was extremely impressed with their Little Mill bottling and I was very disheartened to find out that they had no bottles of it left. They had one distillery bottle left in the shop, although the staff advised me the flavour profile was entirely different and it was quite frankly over price. Unfortunately since Little mill itself has been demolished they’re not going to have any more again.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 22.04.14

Non-age statements

Non-age statement whiskies are very much a hot topic right now. This is a trend of releasing bottles of whisk(e)y with a fancy name instead of a year statements that has been becoming more and more prevalent with the global boom in whisk(e)y sales.

This new/not so new trend, is causing lots of controversy and discussions amongst the fans of the water of life. There are claims that distilleries are just dolling up fancy boxes with very young stock, coloured and chill filtered to the hilt to cash in on the boom in the whisk(e)y market. The distilleries are claiming that they are simply running out of older stock that would allow them to continue to make premium age stated bottlings.

I’m inclined to believe a little of both. Remember that for a distillery to release a 12 year old whisk(e)y there much be a cask maturing in their warehouses for at least 12 years. Seems simple. But whisk(e)y production takes some serious foresight on the behalf of the distillers. They need to gauge how much of the spirit they are going to need in 5, 10, 15 maybe even 20 years time. Not many people would have been able to predict this global boom in the whisk(e)y industry 15 years ago. So my opinions on this leads me to lean slightly on the side of the distillery not having old enough stock to bottle a premium age consistently. A lot of these distilleries have been using the finite amount of space in their warehouses to produce age statements for a much smaller market for years. Now that push has come to shove nearly everybody is in operations to build and expand to meet the market demands that this new whiskey industry holds.

Personally I think that it matters much more what your whisk(e)y tastes like than what its aesthetics on the box are. But that said, I have come across a lot of people who use the age statement on whisk(e)y to gauge a rough subjective quality, in their own heads. Their theory goes 18yr/o > 16 yr/o. Which I suppose empirically makes sense. Although in no way do I really believe that the larger the number equals the better the taste. I have had some really great 3 year old samples of Scotch that have rivaled other 12 yr/o. But like most things related to whiskey, it’s all down to personal taste.

I personally think that we are going to see a lot of NAS bottles replace bread and butter whisk(e)y like the Glenlivet 12, that was recently pulled. I think that distilleries will be able to sustain their growth more and for longer rationing what stock of older whisk(e)y they actually have left.

What I hope I don’t see is a surge of fancy packaged NAS whisk(e)y that have lots of fancy marketing jargon but taste worse than the age statements they replace. As many people have pointed out to me, these fancy NAS bottlings can essentially bring bigger bucks for younger whisk(e)ys for distilleries. So I’m sure the temptation is there with all directors to push younger more coloured spirits onto markets for huge mark ups. This would be a sad state of affairs. I will hold out hope that their pride in their brand name will at least keep some of the big names producing quality spirits and not skimping out to make a few extra bucks while de-grading a great taste.

I think this will be an interesting period of progression in the industry as a whole. I think the entry level of the market will buy in very easily to the fancy labels claiming “limited supply” or “rare” to show off to their friends in lieu of a big age statement. For the rest of the market, the people who do their homework, I think they’ll be divided. I think those who are already converted by the likes of Laphroaig Quarter Cask or Abelour A’bunadh will be more accepting to the changes and I hope they won’t be disappointed. The rest of us will remain skeptical. Do our homework and hope that we won’t be disappointed with whatever rounds the bend.

TL;DR: NAS bottles are here to stay. I hope they aren’t going to be sh1t.

The importance of social media for drinks companies

Today in the 21st century the average person checks at least one form of social media within 15 minutes of waking up in the morning and there are over 890 million daily users of just Facebook alone. This is why all businesses know that to compete in this highly digital world they must have some form of social media presence.

The merits of an engaged social media account can grow an excellent brand awareness and loyalty very quickly. Something you can see new businesses as well as established goliaths cashing in on. This customer engagement doesn’t stop on facebook of course! Platforms like Instagram and Twitter lead the way in their respective content sharing fields. Twitter has opened a unique level of connectivity with companies, many of which have dedicated employees answering customer queries or even building online fame with clever retorts, like An Garda Siochana lately.

It’s very important for these drinks companies to remember that its “social” media not just billboard advertising. It’s a complicated game where even an underscore in your Twitter handle might mean that you are essentially unsearchable on social media (Like one Goliath of Irish whiskey I can think of). Social media shouldn’t be underestimated and Should be done right.

An extremely confident startup company that is only doing things right, from their whiskeys to their social media engagement has to be Teeling Irish Whiskey.

The Teeling brothers’ new business are clearly VERY aware the benefits that surround an active and engaged social media presence. You wont see any airbrushed studio shots of their whiskey here. All of their engagements have a real element or feel to them. Many are reposts/retweets from their consumers. Everything has the air of absolute brand confidence that just oozes from everything Teeling does but it never feels staged at all.

From an original content point of view they’ve got it right. Their posts don’t feel disconnected and held at arms length that you find with many of the major drinks companies.

But what I believe really sets them apart is their user engagement. Any time that some uses #Teeling or an equivalent you can be sure that their PR department won’t be far behind with a cherry comment hoping that you enjoyed it or marveling at how their product from the heart of Dublin made it all the way to Jamaica. You can be sure that their Twitter department is constantly answering consumer complements and queries and even picking up a cocktail recipe or two.

This might sound like a stupid idea to stick someone in front of a computer all day and answer ramblings by twenty something year olds but it really does work. I can remember receiving my first comment on instagram form Teeling and fan girling stupidly that they liked my review and attempt at an artsy picture of their bottle of small batch. I frantically mulled over my reponse trying desperately not to sound stupid in front of the cool guys from Teeling. As silly as that sounds, that has stuck with me and many more whiskey consumers around the world, they have engaged with.

Another company that is doing social media right is Glendalough Irish Whiskey. They also subscribe to the Teeling method of reposting consumer content to build an air of genuine popularity and market interest, which can be so quickly lost with studio created ad campaigns. One ace up their proverbial sleeve is definitely documenting their travels around the world introducing their brand to new markets. It’s almost like they are bringing us along the journey with their brand ambassadors and you can see the growth and the genuine interest that’s out there for quality whiskey that hails from the Emerald Isle.

Both Teeling and Glendalough are examples of the power of using social media to its fullest. They’re building their followers day by day their brand awareness is growing and excitement is building around these brands.
Check them out and see it for yourself:
Teeling – https://instagram.com/teeling_whiskey/

Glendalough – https://www.facebook.com/GlendaloughDistillery?fref=ts

Whisk(e)y and its dance with the Irish bar scene

After spending a weekend in the city of Edinburgh I was pleasantly surprised to see that in a city that boasts no distilleries of its own, every bar has a reasonably priced and varied selection of Scotch whiskies, ranging from small to huge. I had a stark realisation that the bar industry in Scotland was far more aware of having a drinks selection outside of the draft beer and wine, that appealed to tourists and locals alike who wished to sample what Scotland had to offer.

Irish bars and restaurants have perfectly manicured wine selections, with bottles hailing from the likes of France, California and Chile. While the singular lonely bottle of the Irish home grown spirit is only reserved for hot whiskeys.

The Irish whiskey industry is going through a monumental renaissance at the moment. Distilleries are popping up all across the country and this expansion is only being mirrored by the fact that Irish whiskey is currently the fastest growing spirit in the world. Tens of thousands of tourists come to the Emerald Isle every year to witness the birth-place of Irish Whiskey and the bar trade seems none the wiser that there is a market of locals and tourists who have a taste for the grain.
We have seen that there is a market for it. The Irish Whiskey Museum opened recently in the heart of Dublin city and they have shot straight to the top of Trip Advisors attractions in Dublin city. Thankfully we are also seeing the beginnings of Whiskey bars start to poke their head’s above the parapets in some of the major cities too. This is a great start but it should be better. The thirst is there and the publicans of Ireland are not quenching it.
Now I’m not suggesting that every bar owner in the country rushes out and drops €7,000 on a bottle of Middleton Pearl. But for a couple of hundred euro a bar would be able to stock its shelves with a snippet of the variety that Ireland has to offer.

A decent selection served in a decent glass (I’m not saying we should all stock up on glencairns straight away but not a high ball either) would enable publicans to widen their portfolio of clients as well as their profit margins.

Tourist spots could better cater to the visitors who have come to our country having heard so much about the national spirit. It could become a very enticing selling point for Irish businesses, introducing both foreigners and locals to what Ireland has to offer, both in the glass and on the plates with clever food pairings.

The Irish whiskey market is booming and with the global reach of the spirit getting wider its time for the Irish bar trade to catch up before they get left behind.

 

TL:DR: Irish bars need to stock better varieties of Whisk(e)y.