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Irish Whiskey: Stories and Sips
51 minutes | 2 months ago
Darryl McNally: Master of The Liberties
In November 2019 I stood in the lobby of the Aloft Hotel in the Liberties area of Dublin city. For the first time in more than 70 years the roofs and buildings of four operating Irish whiskey distilleries could be seen - Pearse Lyons Distillery, Teeling Distillery, Roe & Co and the focus of this week’s podcast, the Dublin Liberties Distillery. In fact as I marveled at the return of distilling to Ireland’s capital, right on cue, a truck full of barley arrived, ready for Master Distiller Darryl McNally to turn it into single malt irish whiskey and I watched as its contents were magically emptied from the truck straight in through the wall of the Dublin Liberties Distillery. Darryl has spent his whole working life in Irish whiskey and the Dublin Liberties Distillery is his chance to put his very own stamp on whiskey that he’s been keen to make for years. In this episode of stories and sips, I have the pleasure of chatting with a master of his craft and a mentor to many up and coming young distillers. I was not going to let a chance to chat with a Master Distiller of Darryl’s calibre go to waste and made sure to dive deep into such topics as: - What Darryl believes makes for a good Master Distiller - What he considered when building his whiskey portfolio at Dublin Liberties Distillery - What it takes to build a distillery from the ground up - What a career at Ireland’s oldest distillery, Bushmills, taught him about single malt and running a distillery - What the DNA of his own whiskey is.
47 minutes | 2 months ago
Ernest Cantillon: Cork’s Bar, Restaurant and Whiskey Entrepreneur
Irish whiskey has a fascinating past - we’ve had many great conversations about the rise and fall and rise again of Irish whiskey on this podcast. One of the most fascinating aspects to me of Irish whiskeys past is the role of whiskey bonders and bottlers - those middlemen who purchased casks of whiskey from the distilleries and bottled under their own label or matured the whiskeys further, selling the whiskeys on in their own pub or distributing to others to sell.
46 minutes | 3 months ago
Alex Loudon – Ireland’s Rainwater Whiskey Maker
In October this year, Ireland had 34 operating Irish whiskey distilleries. As we settle in to November, we now find ourselves with 36 distilleries on the island of Ireland producing Irish whiskey. The newest distillery, Glendree Distillery, is located in Glendree in East Clare, on a winding mountain road on a slope of the Slieve Aughty Mountains, at the family farm of founders Paul and Alex Loudon.
55 minutes | 3 months ago
Dave Mulligan: Ireland’s Proud Poitín Purveyor
Before Irish whiskey as we know it today, there was a different spirit, the precursor to whiskey, the spirit that every house in Ireland had a drop of or participated in the making of. I’m talking of course about Poitín (pronounced pot-cheen). If you think the story of Irish whiskey is the greatest rollercoaster ride in the history of Irish spirits, then you’ve not yet heard the turbulent, thrilling, story of Poitín.
53 minutes | 3 months ago
John O'Donovan – Irish Whiskey's Global Retailer
For every whiskey business, there are hundreds of ancillary businesses that, working together, help us get the whiskey into our glass wherever we are in the world. One of these businesses is IrishMalts, an online spirits retailer founded in 2018 by two brothers from Cork. You see, the story's already good! Robert and John O'Donovan have been busy supporting the growth of Irish whiskey since founding their business, finding ways to make it easier for smaller whiskey companies to list products for sale and distribution, and by offering a service that not only helps distilleries and brands sell their products more easily but by getting that product into customer's hands and bellies around the world faster.
41 minutes | 3 months ago
Fionnán O’Connor – Ireland’s Pot Still Whiskey Historian – Part 2
Before the available choices of single pot still whiskey stretched beyond two – Green Spot and Redbreast 12, one man had fallen in love with both the spirit and its history. Today, Fionnán O’Connor, my guest on the podcast, is recognized as one of the foremost experts on the history of single pot still whiskey. His book A Glass Apart, published in October 2015, is recognized as the definitive guide to Irish pot still whiskey today. This episode is the second part of a two-part series (Part 1 here) on the topic of single pot still whiskey, its history and its future and is a continuation of my conversation with Fionnan O’Connor.
48 minutes | 3 months ago
Fionnán O’Connor - Ireland’s Pot Still Whiskey Historian - Part 1
Irish single pot still whiskey is in the midst of a welcome resurgence. Once one of the best selling styles of whiskey in the world, its rollercoaster journey has been well documented on this podcast and elsewhere. Though the Midleton distillery was the only distillery in Ireland producing this style from the early 1970s until 2012 when Dingle Distillery began production, today there are more than a dozen producers of Ireland’s unique style of whiskey with more in the pipeline. Before the available choices of single post still whiskey stretched beyond two - Green Spot and Redbreast 12, one man had fallen in love with both the spirit and its history. Today, Fionnán O’Connor, my guest on the podcast, is recognized as one of the foremost experts on the history of single pot still whiskey.
54 minutes | 4 months ago
Jarlath Watson: Blending Echlinville's Innovation with Belfast's Whiskey Traditions
In this episode of Stories & Sips I spent a very enjoyable afternoon chatting with Jarlath Watson, global brand ambassador and part of the founding team of the extraordinary Echlinville distillery. We sipped on some Dunville's Irish whiskey and I learned more about the history of this storied brand and Echlinville’s impressive approach to growing, malting and distilling.
47 minutes | 5 months ago
James Doherty: A Return to Donegal Distilling
It’s been 175 years since legal distilling has happened in Ireland’s North Western-most county of Donegal. That changed with the establishment of Sliabh Liag Distillers - founded by husband and wife team James and Moira Doherty who uprooted their family from Hong Kong to pursue a passion.
58 minutes | 5 months ago
Kieran Folliard: 2 Gingers, Many Irish Pubs & No All-Ireland Football Medals
He built an Irish pub group, he became the world’s biggest seller of Jameson, he launched his own Irish whiskey, he sold the pubs, he sold the whiskey and he’s still not done. In this episode of Stories & Sips, I chat with Co. Mayo native Kieran Folliard about his extraordinary drinks adventure in Minnesota and what it took to sell more Jameson than anywhere else on earth.
71 minutes | 5 months ago
Daithí O'Connell: Ireland's Modern Whiskey Merchant
Daithí O’Connell is the founder of W.D. O’Connell Whiskey Merchants. It's safe to say that the whiskey merchants of old didn't have previous experience flying planes in the Middle East or setting up pubs and financial technology companies in Asia, but Daithí is a modern whiskey merchant with a hint of the renaissance man about him. It might just be the beard...
62 minutes | 5 months ago
John Quinn: Tullamore Legend & Irish Whiskey Icon
John Quinn serves as global brand ambassador for Tullamore D.E.W., one of the most recognized brands in Irish whiskey, a company he has played a role in growing since his early days with Irish Distillers. In 2016, John was named Whiskey Brand Ambassador of the year by Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky Awards, and in December 2018 he was appointed as Vice Chairman of the Irish Whiskey Association. In 2019, John became the first Irish whiskey global ambassador to be inducted into the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame. He is a legend of Irish whiskey and the hundreds of brand ambassadors that preach the Irish whiskey gospel around the world stand on his shoulders. He was there as Irish whiskey battled for survival. He’s there today in the midst of growth that could never have been imagined in the 1970s. We can all learn from his perspective and experience. I hope you enjoy our chat. A kinder, more genuine, passionate, knowledgeable gentleman you won’t find in the world of whiskey.
57 minutes | 6 months ago
Jack Ferris: Old Bushmills Distillery & New Single Malts
Growing up even closer to a distillery than I did, this week’s guest Jack Ferris, is the United States National Brand Ambassador for Bushmills. I’ve fallen more and more in love with the single malts from Bushmills over the past year and I had questions, many questions for Jack about Bushmills past, present and future. I hope you enjoy our chat.
57 minutes | 7 months ago
Liam Brogan: Two Stacks & The Beginning of a Whiskey Journey
This is the first episode in a series of conversations I'll be having with the founding team of Ireland Craft Beverages. They are about to launch their first ever Irish whiskey and are allowing me to follow that journey as they set about getting it on shelves all over the world. Launching a whiskey brand is no small undertaking and I hope you're as interested in me in learning what it takes. In this first in our series following the journey of Two Stacks Irish whiskey, I chat with co-founder Liam Brogan.
49 minutes | 7 months ago
Rob Caldwell: Dissecting Dublin's Teeling Whiskey
Teeling has remained a bit of an enigma to me over the past few years as I've tried to get my head around the myriad of brands they produce. To put me straight and get my head around the company and their approach, I sat down with Robert Caldwell, Teeling Global Brand Ambassador to help me understand what Teeling is all about, the philosophy behind its distillation and maturation and what we might expect from them going forward.
62 minutes | 8 months ago
Jonathan Mitchell: A Spot of Irish Whiskey History
Today we are seeing a resurgence in demand for Ireland’s quintessential style of Irish whiskey - pot still whiskey. New distilleries all over the country are distilling and maturing single pot still whiskey in the hopes that it once again becomes the world’s most consumed and demanded Irish whiskey. In the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s and well into the 1900s single pot still whiskey ruled the world. As domestic and global events played out in the 1900s, from prohibition to trade wars to Scottish and American competitors seizing upon opportunities, that style of whiskey faded in popularity to the point where it all but disappeared by the 1970s. However, one brand never died out - never faded away and never disappeared from shelves and that is Green Spot Irish whiskey. Today, Green Spot is joined by many other siblings in the spot range of whiskeys and every label bears a family a name - the Mitchell family. The Mitchell & Son firm of wine, whiskey and spirit merchants created this famous brand in the late 1800s and to this day are still involved in its production and distribution. Legendary in the world of Irish whiskey, the Mitchell family ensured that single pot still whiskey bearing the Spot name never faded into obscurity. This week I spent a wonderful afternoon chatting with Jonathan Mitchell, sixth generation of the Mitchell family to lead the company and oversee the wine and whiskey business. He has had a front row seat to the remarkable changes that have occurred in the world of Irish whiskey in the past 50 years and was instrumental in ensuring the survival and promotion of single pot still whiskey bearing the spot name. I could have chatted with Jonathan all day, and hope to again in the future. I hope you enjoy the remarkable stories he shared with me.
65 minutes | 8 months ago
Peter Mulryan: From Broadcasting to The Blackwater
Outspoken and passionate, Peter Mulryan is determined to build on Irish whiskey's rich, diverse history and recipes, and with a healthy pour of innovation ensure that his Irish whiskey takes advantage of the best of Irish whisky’s past and present. I’m a fan of what Peter and his team at Blackwater Distillery are doing and in advance of the launch of their newest sourced whiskey, Velvet Cap, I'm excited to share our chat with you.
60 minutes | 8 months ago
Mary Ferriter: Dingle Distillery's Founding Mother
One woman has been part of the story of Dingle and the distillery since before this crazy idea to distill in one of Europe’s most westerly towns was hatched. Her name is Mary Ferriter and there is no Dingle Distillery without her. As General Manager and Global Ambassador for the Dingle Distillery, she has observed and managed its growth from a unique perch. In this episode of stories I chat with Mary about the early days of the distillery and the story behind the now-well known brand.
52 minutes | 8 months ago
Louise McGuane: Blends, Bottles & Bonds
The rise in demand for Irish whiskey around the world over the past ten years has led to the building of new distilleries in Ireland and the establishment of new whiskey brands, bonders and bottlers. This evolving mixture of established multi-century brands and new risk-taking upstarts makes for a more diverse, more energetic and more interesting Irish whiskey landscape than we’ve had in Ireland in more than a century. Fueled by passion and pride, these new entrants are putting their money where their mouth is and risking money and time to build something new, something exciting and something they can put their own stamp on. In 2016, Louise McGuane, founder of J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey welcomed the first of many whiskey casks to her family farm in Co. Clare in Ireland. In this episode of Stories & Sips, I chat with Louise about her unique business in the world of Irish whiskey, why whiskey barrels are delivered to her farm and how she has carved out a loyal fan base of Irish whiskey enthusiasts all around the world for her honest approach and downright good whiskey.
53 minutes | 9 months ago
Maurice O'Connell: Irish Whiskey's Wayward Gentleman
In the fight for Irish rights in the early 1800s, there is one dominant name - Daniel O’Connell - known as The Liberator or The Emancipator. O’Connell, a Kerryman, campaigned for Catholic emancipation - including the right for Catholics to sit in the Westminster Parliament, something that was denied for more than 100 years—and repeal of the Acts of Union which combined Great Britain and Ireland. He was a legendary figure and had an outsized impact on the plight of the Irish two short centuries ago. There have been many intersections between the O'Connell family and alcohol over the years (some legitimate, others not so much) and today one particular descendant, Maurice O’Connell hopes to celebrate his family’s history and impact with the establishment of his whiskey company Wayward Irish Spirits. Maurice has great plans for the beautiful family estate near Killarney in the south west of Ireland and I was keen to learn more about what he hopes to achieve and what prompted him to get involved with Irish whiskey.
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