Discover Ireland’s Newest Whiskey Distilleries
Irish whiskey has been a huge part of the Irish economy for hundreds of years, and to this day, Dublin and Cork are home to a multitude of traditional distilleries that are creating top whiskey brands that are exported all over the world. With so much history of whiskey distilling in Ireland, and so many big brands already dominating the market, setting up new Irish whiskey brands is no easy feat.
Over the last few years, however, a number of new distilleries have opened their doors and started producing Irish whiskey drinks which can compete with even the biggest contenders. The resilience and quality of this industry is amazing. Some of these distilleries are set up by professionals with years (or generations) of experience, while others are brand new to the industry.
The Waterford Distillery opened in December 2015, and it’s one of the most talked-about new Irish whiskey distilleries around. The project was launched and managed by the former MD of Bruichladdich Mark Reyneir, who also has years of experience working in the Scotch whiskey industry. The distillery produced its first trial spirit in December 2015, and since then it has been on a mission to create what it calls “the most profound” and best Irish whiskey in the entire industry.
The distillery was set up in the South East of Ireland, on a site that used to be used to make Guinness for the Diageo company. The distillery features two pot stills as well as a column still, and it can create both grain spirits and malt spirits. The owner and manager Reyneir, however, said that his focus is on creating single malt and does not, at this point, have any intention to produce a grain spirit. In 2016, the company released Ireland’s first ever single malt organic whiskey.
Connacht Whiskey Company
The Connacht Whiskey Company is another distillery set up in 2015. The new distillery opened in County Mayo, and it was the result of a dream of five friends, John, Tom, David, Rob, and PJ. At launch, the owners claimed that they wanted to bring modern techniques to the old tradition of craft distilling.
As well as whiskey, they announced that they intended to release their own range of gin and poitin, and even a blended whisky made using liquid they sourced before their operations began. In 2017, the Connacht Whiskey Company released its own Irish-American whiskey blend.
Rademon Estate Distillery
Slightly older, but still new to the industry, the Rademon Estate Distillery was opened in 2012, and it calls itself the “first craft distillery in Northern Ireland.” The distillery was opened in County Down, and its inaugural release was “Shortcross Gin,” two years later, in 2014.
Despite being founded in 2012 by David and Fiona Boyd-Armstrong, the company actually only released its plans to create Irish whiskey in September 2015. The firm is expected to release some 100 barrels of whiskey in its first year, and its owners have confirmed they will not be sourcing liquid from other producers. Instead, they will oversee every single stage of production, from grain to glass, in their own distillery. Over the next three years, they are expected to continue expanding, with an investment of over £4 million ($5.1 million).
Exciting New Producers of an Age-Old Spirit
So what is Irish whiskey? Clearly, it is an extremely versatile product that is being interpreted in lots of different ways! Despite it being such an old industry, new companies are always coming along and reinventing the product, creating great diversity on the market.