Irish Whiskey coming of age

Sales of premium-and-above Irish whiskeys grew 20% here last year according to IWSR figures. As more new distillery start-ups begin to reach their three-years-and-one-day maturities, is the pressure on third-party stocks of Irish whiskey beginning to ease and what is now available in the Irish whiskey market? We take a look at the Irish whiskey market.
Irish whiskey can boast around 22% of all spirits sales in Ireland.

Irish whiskey can boast around 22% of all spirits sales in Ireland.

The US remains the biggest global market for Irish whiskey exports at 4.6 million nine-litre cases with Uncle Sam taking 10% more last year and paying a total of €620 million.

According to the Distilled Spirits Council in the US, high-end Premium and Super Premium Irish whiskeys have grown by 1,106% and 3,385% respectively since 2002.

Meanwhile Irish whiskey continues to sustain double-digit growth in EU markets – growing by 16% according to both Bord Bia and IWSR which indicates a volume increase from 551,900 nine-litre cases in 2017 to 581,750 cases last year.

Irish whiskey can boast around 22% of all spirits sales in Ireland, up 0.6% MAT to June according to Nielsen and what’s even more encouraging for the on- and off-trade is that Premium-and-above sales of Irish whiskey jumped 21.7% to witness a new high of 77,000 cases last year.

Happily, Irish whiskey is in growth mode here at 584,750 cases in 2018, up 5.4% with values up 0.6% to €251 million according to Drinks Ireland|Spirits in its Irish Spirits Market Report 2018, just published.

Nielsen figures indicate that in the off-trade sales of Irish whiskey generally reached 376,000 cases MAT to June this year, a rise of 5.1% according to Nielsen which puts its off-trade value at €123 million, up 3.3%.

However on-trade Irish whiskey sales were down 5.4% to 112,000 cases MAT to June and they were worth €128 million (a drop of 1.9%).

But market analyst Euromonitor predicts that Irish whiskey sales will increase by 3.5% to 389,000 nine-litre cases in the off-trade here in 2019 rising by 3.8% to 408,000 cases next year and by nearly 8% to 433,000 million litres by 2022. This will be worth €172 million this year and €180 million next. By 2022 it will be worth €197.5 million.



Paddy Irish Whiskey

Paddy Irish Whiskey is made from a unique blend of Pot Still, Malt and Grain whiskeys. Paddy owes its name to the legendary distillery salesman Paddy Flaherty. Famed throughout his native County Cork for buying rounds of his favourite tipple, he became so synonymous with the whiskey he sold that in 1913 the distillery owners paid him the ultimate tribute by renaming the whiskey ‘Paddy’ in his honour.

Paddy Irish Whiskey has made some exciting moves in recent months, taking the number three position in the market after the Spirit of Paddy campaign that celebrated the man himself Paddy Flaherty. For further product details contact George Roberts on or see


Natterjack Irish Whiskey

Launched last February Natterjack Irish whiskey is the most recent independent whiskey to join the category. However the brand, the concept and the spirit have been in development since 2014 when cousins Aidan and Lisa Mehigan decided to take a chance and create something different.

“We knew Irish whiskey was the best in the world but we wanted to push the boundaries and play with the rulebook of Irish whiskey to create new tastes, aromas and experiences,” says Aidan. His experience working alongside Jordan Via (now the company’s Master Blender and Distiller) in Breckenridge, Colorado, inspired Aidan to marry the knowledge from both sides of the Atlantic.

Natterjack Irish Whiskey is a unique blend, triple-distilled in true Irish spirit, aged in ex-Bourbon barrels (traditional Irish) and finished in virgin American Oak (traditional American) using just the right amount of char before bottling it.

“We wanted to make a spirit that had a more versatile flavour palate than people have come to expect with Irish whiskey,” says Aidan. Natterjack neat holds its own as a sipping whiskey. You can savour the upfront Apple, Toffee and Vanilla with mellow undertones of spice, Cedar and tobacco. The sweet citrus and dark chocolate notes lend themselves to an array of highball mixes (try it stirred up with Cherry syrup and cola) and cocktail creations (it’s supreme in a Whiskey Sour).

As for the distillery itself plans are underway to renovate The Old Mill at Kilmacthomas, complete with three copper Pot Stills, a maturation area and Visitor Centre. Additionally, there will be more expressions coming to market including a limited release of Natterjack Cask Strength.

The company is currently exporting to five global markets (including the US, Canada and China) with plans to expand this portfolio in 2020.

And the Natterjack Toad?

“We were doing something different with our whiskey and we wanted to do something different with our brand,” says Lisa Mehigan, “We’re not a place-name, we’re not a surname, we’re an animal spirit”.






Dunville’s Irish Whiskey unveils 18 Year-Old Single Malt with rare Port Mourant Demerara Rum Cask finish

County Down’s Echlinville Distillery has unveiled its award-winning Dunville’s VR 18 Year-Old Port Mourant Rum Finish Single Malt Irish Whiskey.
This cask-strength 57% ABV limited-release is from the first of eight incredibly rare casks from the lost Port Mourant Estate Distillery in Guyana – casks that previously nurtured an exceptional 41 year-old Demerara Rum from the world’s last surviving double wooden pot still.
With four international awards already to its name, this Single Cask bottling is the jewel in the crown of the Dunville’s Irish Whiskey portfolio. It joins Dunville’s PX 12 Year-Old Single Malt, Dunville’s Three Crowns and Dunville’s Three Crowns Peated which have recently been relaunched with new-look bespoke bottles and gift packs.

Joining the Dunville’s Very Rare range, the Rum Finish bottling is presented in an exquisite collector’s box which includes a sample of the very same 41 year-old rum disgorged from the Port Mourant casks before Echlinville refilled them with single malt whiskey.
Dunville’s VR 18 Year-Old Port Mourant Rum Finish Whiskey has already picked up four international accolades and was named Best Irish Single Cask at the World Whiskies Awards and Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible in 2018, Best Irish Single Malt 13-20 Years at the World Whiskies Awards 2019 and Irish Single Cask Gold Medal Winner at the Irish Whiskey Awards 2018.
For more information visit


Northern Ireland whiskeys driving exports

Less than 10 years ago Northern Ireland was home to just one distillery but now boasts a range of distillers producing award-winning whiskey including The Echlinville Distillery based near Kircubbin, the home of the historic Dunville malt and blended Irish Whiskey. In 2019, Dunville’s Three Crowns Peated Whiskey won Best Irish Blend at the World Whiskey Awards. Global sales of Irish Whiskey have increased by over 300% in the last 10 years and Northern Ireland’s whiskey distillers are contributing to this rise in Irish Whiskey exports too.

The Old Bushmills Distillery, said to be the world’s oldest licensed distillery, is located on the north east coast of County Antrim and has been refining whiskey distillation for centuries. Bushmills recently announced a €56 million (£50m) expansion to double production over the next five years.

Northern Irish whiskey exports from ports including Belfast, Derry, Warrenpoint and Coleraine to non-EU countries alone were worth €28.5 million (£25.6m) last year according to the UK’s Department of Industry and Trade.

Outside the US, South Africa is the fastest-growing non-EU market for Northern Irish whiskey with exports of same valued at €19.6 million (£17.6m) in 2018 – an increase of 27.8% from the previous year. Other markets driving this global demand include Australia, Kenya, Mexico, Norway and Taiwan.

Distilleries in Northern Ireland are not only creating jobs and delivering economic growth through exports, they’re also contributing to the rise of Whiskey tourism. Old Bushmills, Echlinville, Rademon Estate and Boatyard Distilleries currently attract more than 120,000 visitors every year and are on course to hit the 200,000 mark in the near future.

Such distilleries in Northern Ireland form a firm part of this Irish Whiskey renaissance – the fastest-growing premium spirit category in the world, with exports set to double to 12 million nine-litre cases by 2020 according to the Irish Whiskey Association.



The Sexton Single Malt Irish Whiskey

The Sexton Single Malt Irish Whiskey is crafted by Master Blender Alex Thomas, one of Ireland’s few female whiskey blenders.

A modern malt, it comes to market during the explosive rise of the Irish Whiskey category. Born out of a blend between historic Irish whiskey-making traditions and modern-day maturation experimentation, The Sexton represents the changing face of Ireland, capturing the heritage and provenance of the past and the optimism and creativity of the future.

The Sexton Single Malt Irish Whiskey is a new and unexpected Single Malt, rich in hue, approachable in taste, deep and memorable in character.

On the nose, notes of honeyed malt, nuts and dark chocolate are followed by hints of marzipan and allspice.

The refreshing palate reveals notes of dried fruit followed by a layer of complexity; rich notes of nuts, spice and citrus oils and finally a pleasant Oak finish with a Honey sweetness that slowly fades. This is a modern malt, versatile and perfect for mixing or sipping.

Try out a cocktail recipe from The Sexton.

A versatile whiskey in nature, The Sexton is the perfect addition to any cocktail; available in high-end bars, restaurants and lounges.


Teeling Whiskey

Teeling Whiskey, Ireland’s leading progressive whiskey producer, released its Teeling Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey in October 2018, the first commercial release distilled at its Dublin-based Teeling Whiskey Distillery. It was the first new Dublin-distilled Irish whiskey to be released for near 50 years, marking the revival of the craft of distilling in the city.

This was a landmark occasion for Ireland’s whiskey industry and in particular for Dublin. Dublin whiskey and its distilleries were at the forefront of the previous golden era for Irish whiskey in the 19th Century and it was a very dark day for Irish whiskey when, during the 1970s, these last remaining distilleries closed their doors. The opening of the Teeling Whiskey Distillery in 2015 marked a new chapter in the history of Dublin whiskey distilling, firmly putting Dublin and Teeling Whiskey at the forefront of a wave of distilleries driving a new golden era for Irish whiskey.

This was the first commercial release of Teeling Single Pot Still Whiskey, produced from a recipe of 50% unmalted and 50% malted barley, a uniquely Irish mash bill made famous by Dublin distillers.

Distilled in 2015 in the Teeling Whiskey Distillery it’s aged in a range of virgin Oak, ex-Bourbon and ex-wine casks to produce a distinct Pot Still taste profile unique to Teeling.



Hyde Irish Whiskey Secures €1m deal at ProWein

Hyde Irish Whiskey secured export sales contracts valued at over €1 million at ProWein, the international drinks trade show in Dusseldorf recently.

The County Cork-based purveyor and curator of fine Irish whiskey has now secured deals with major spirit importers in Germany, France and Belgium for its new Stout Cask-aged Hyde Irish whiskey.

“The show has been a phenomenal success for Hyde with over five new distributor contracts signed for new export markets,” says Conor Hyde of Hyde Irish Whiskey, “We’ve had an incredible reaction at the show to our innovative new Irish whiskey cask finishes such as our Burgundy cask, Caribbean Rum cask and Irish Stout cask finish, not to mention our Special Reserve Sherry cask finish which won ‘Best Irish Blended Whiskey’ at the World Whiskies Awards in London last year.”

Hyde is part of a renaissance of small batch and specialist Irish whiskey brands that play a fundamental role in driving sales and raising the profile of Irish whiskey around the world, connecting with a new generation of whiskey connoisseurs.

Hyde Irish Whiskey launched in 2014 and today reaches consumers in 36 countries around the world.

It is matured and ‘finished’ in the idyllic and temperate climate of Little Island, County Cork, on the Wild Atlantic Way coastline.

A broad range of nine different Hyde Irish Whiskey expressions can be explored, each with a unique character created by pairing fine Irish whiskey, triple-distilled in both copper Pot and Column Stills, with wooden casks hand-chosen to complement them.

“It’s all about the wood,” explains Conor, “We’re meticulous about matching Hyde whiskey with the perfect Oak cask type.”

For more information about Hyde Irish Whiskey and to explore the full range of expressions, visit our website at


Powerscourt Distillery

Powerscourt Distillery has opened Master Distiller and Master Blender Noel Sweeney’s inaugural cask programme, releasing only 397 200 litre, first-fill, ex-Bourbon casks to the trade.

The three-Still distillery is one of the most impressive in Ireland, located in the world-famous Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow.

It’s been producing spirit for over a year now thanks to Noel who joined Powerscourt early into the project to be involved in the design of the stills. A former Master Distiller and Master Blender of Cooley Distillery for 30 years Noel created iconic brands such as Connemara, Kilbeggan, Tyrconnell, Greenore and Locke’s. Now he’s offering 200 litre, triple-distilled whiskey from barley all grown in the local Wicklow area.

The triple-distilled Single Malt casks are being offered to individuals, investors and the trade (and according to some of the top publicans in the country, some of Noel Sweeney’s  first Pot Still casks have been released into its three- to 10-year programme).

Noel Sweeney and the Powerscourt Distillery team.

Noel Sweeney and the Powerscourt Distillery team.

It has first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels and options to finish in Rum, Port, Sherry, Amoroso, Madeira or Bordeaux red wine casks etc.

“Cask Members” have access to exclusive members-only bottles and first refusal on every limited-edition and special finish bottles the distillery releases. Cask Members also have their name painted on their cask and on the wall of their on-site maturation warehouse. Powerscourt already has its excellent Fercullen range of whiskeys from spirit formerly distilled and laid down by Noel.

They are a Premium Blend, a special 10 Year-Old Single Grain and a 14 Year-Old Single Malt.

Also included in the programme is a golf day at the 36-hole championship layout Powerscourt Golf Courses and a stay at the 5-Star Powerscourt Hotel Spa Resort. for more information or e-mail

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