Irish Spirits in Good Form
Bord Bia – the Irish Food Board – is reporting that new Irish spirit brands are in good shape for 2020 and beyond.
Nick Curtis-Davis, Head of Brand Development at Bord Bia says that “From its well documented, near extinction in the 1970s the Irish spirits industry is once again in rude health. The story is largely that of whiskey but the current renaissance is defined by more than just the volume and value recovery led by the big whiskey brands. It is also characterised by the rich breadth and variety of approaches, stories and flavours a new breed of bonders and distillers is bringing to the category”.
With more people buying from the Irish in-store off-licence during CoVid19 – rather than risk the pub, this would be a good time to explore the new and emerging brands that Ireland has to offer.
Three of the latest entrants onto the Irish Spirits stage include W.D O’Connell Whiskey Merchants. Launched by Daithí O’Connell at Dublin’s Whiskey Live in late 2019 with two releases, a 17-year-old Single Malt distilled in Cooley finished in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks, and ‘Bill Phil’ Batch 01 – Ireland’s first triple-distilled, peated, single malt whiskey in over half a century.
Another example is Rebel City Distillery. Opened in June this year Rebel City Distillery is the first new distillery in Cork city for almost fifty years. The distillery’s first release is Maharani – a gin zested with pomelo fruit, and uniquely spiced with cassia and nutmeg-mace, all sourced from a women’s organic farming co-operative in Bhagya’s home state of Kerala, India.
Finally, Wayward Irish Spirits is launching a collection of mature Whiskeys. Led by Maurice O’Connell from the family estate on the shores of Lough Leane, the new range are sourced from other distilleries and finished on the Estate in meticulously selected barrels. These whiskeys will be named the Liberator Irish Whiskey Series in honour of his forebear Daniel O’Connell. The inaugural release from this range, launched in February this year, was The Liberator Irish Malt Whiskey finished in Tawny Port casks.
It looks like the whiskey trade in Ireland is in good health.