This week our Irish Whiskey News features articles on the Irish Whiskey Association heading to the USA to promote Irish whiskey and Billy Leighton of Irish Distillers waxes lyrical about his whiskey blending past.
So let’s see what’s been happening this week in our Irish whiskey news.
Members of the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) have announced its plans to travel to the US and Canada this week as part of an industry mission to promote Irish whiskey in the lead up to St.Patrick’s Day.
The mission seeks to enhance the protection of Irish whiskey, develop business opportunities for Irish distillers, and promote Irish whiskey among key North American drinks industry groups and international media, the group that represents the industry outlined in a statement. “Irish whiskey’s global renaissance shows no sign of abating,” said William Lavelle, head of the IWA.
“This is very much down to the exceptional craftsmanship and product innovation of Ireland’s whiskey producers, both large and small, as well as the hard work being put in on the ground, particularly by our network of brand ambassadors in the North American market.”
Master blender Billy Leighton’s long list of responsibilities is testament to the current boom in Irish whiskey: Jameson, Redbreast, Green Spot, Midleton, Method & Madness… While welcoming Ireland’s whiskey-making renaissance, he also remains mindful of its chequered past. Just for a moment, Billy Leighton has been transported back more than four decades to his early years in the industry, working as a junior accountant at Bushmills. Whiskey had never been a big thing in the family home – ‘maybe a special occasion, or a hot whiskey if you’d a cold’ – but something about his new workplace was puzzling him.
‘There were a lot of smells coming from the plant – the brewing, the fermentation – that I was familiar with, and I couldn’t figure out why,’ he recalls. ‘I thought: “Is it a bakery? Where do I know that smell from?”
‘All of a sudden it hit me that Bushmills had a sister distillery, the Coleraine distillery, that was operational until 1978, and I was living in Coleraine at that time. So the smells I was getting at Bushmills were smells I would have smelled in Coleraine without even realising it.’
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