This week our Irish Whiskey Weekly News features articles on Teelings new barrel choices, The sad passing of Pearse Lyons and a chat with Louise McGuane of Chapel Gate Whiskey Company.
So let’s see what’s been happening this week in our Irish whiskey weekly news.
How do you craft something that’s recognizable yet wholly unique?
That was the question Alex Chasko, along with Jack and Stephen Teeling, asked themselves when they set about opening the first new distillery in Dublin in more than 125 years. They knew they wanted Teeling Whiskey to “challenge the norms of what it means to make an Irish whiskey,” Chasko said. But what, really, did that mean?
The possibilities were vast. After all, the only limitations they faced were legal; the Irish Whiskey Act of 1980 mapped out the basic requirements for the spirit. The law is straightforward: An Irish whiskey must be made from a mash of malted barley (it may include other unmalted cereal grains); it must be mashed, fermented, distilled to no more than 94.8 percent alcohol by volume; it must be matured in wooden casks for at least three years in Ireland and/or Northern Ireland; it can’t contain additives (other than water and caramel colouring); and it must be bottled at no less than 40 percent alcohol by volume.
Pearse Lyons, the Irish-born Kentucky billionaire who founded the international agribusiness and beverage giant Alltech and was the key figure in bringing the World Equestrian Games to Lexington in 2010, has died at age 73. Lyons died Thursday morning followed months of hospitalisation from complications following heart surgery Nov. 1, Alltech spokeswoman Susanna Elliott said.
A hard-charging businessman with boundless energy and an outgoing personality, Lyons also was a major philanthropist, focusing on education. Among many other contributions, he and his family have given science labs to schools, scholarships to science graduate students and more than $1 million to help the University of Kentucky’s Opera Theatre program attract and educate top students.
“Pearse was a builder,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “A builder of ideas and projects and people. A man of imagination, vigour, and enthusiasm. He was one of those rare, larger than life figures who had an influence far beyond our borders.”
How did you start out in the industry?
I’ve been working for 20 years with a range of multinational drinks companies; I worked with Moët Hennessy, Pernod Ricard and Diageo in everything from strategic marketing to commercialisation.But I always worked abroad; I was based in New York and Singapore. I was always away, I never worked a day of my life in Ireland.
Where did the idea for the Chapel Gate Whiskey Company come from?
I had just got married and my husband was based in London, while I was living in Singapore. I had figured that if I grounded myself in one place then a lot of opportunities with these multinationals would begin to close off. I looked around and decided it was time to do something on my own, so in 2012 I looked back to Ireland. Irish whiskey was on the way up as a category, and we were starting to see some movement on the craft side, with independent distilleries popping up. Originally my idea was to create a craft grain-to-glass distillery on my family farm. But while I was researching I discovered this label that said ‘J.J. Corry special malt whiskey bonder in Kilrush’, which is where I’m from. I looked at the term ‘bonder’ and I discovered that Irish whiskey bonding was a huge part of the industry up until the 1930s, when it all but died out.
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