Whisky Magazine Issue 62
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Is the Emerald Isle worth a visit for whiskey fans? You bet – and particularly in 2007
Don't shout it too loudly, but 2007 might just be the year when Irish whiskey becomes a contender again.
Metaphorically speaking the stars are in alignment. The spotlight's been turned on.
The cash train might just be heading back in to town.
In recent years Ireland, has, to all intents and purposes, been a one trick pony with a couple of prize but somewhat neglected fillies still in the stable. A good trick, admittedly, but one trick nevertheless.
So while Irish Distillers have taken Jameson around the world and the enthusiasts have slavered over Redbreast and Green Spot, Ireland seems to have fallen off the radar to some extent, and great whiskeys from Midleton, Bushmills and Cooley and unique brands such as Powers and Paddys seem to have dropped behind.
So what is changing? Three key things.
One, Bushmills was sold off by Irish Distillers to Diageo as part of complicated dealer-brokering in the Allied dismantlement, giving the world's biggest drinks company a natural spirits partner to Irish beer Guinness, on which it is founded.
Two, the oddball food and drink manufacturer Cantrell & Cochrane hit paydirt with its marketing of Magner's and reinvented the cider category, potentially giving it the muscle to put its whiskey Tullamore Dew on the world map.
And three, rebel Irish distillers Cooley is celebrating its 20th year but is well aware that it is like the sporting protégé that has never quite fulfilled expectations. It knows it is time to step up to the plate ...