This week our Irish Whiskey News features articles on Lough Neagh Distillers entering the US market and a new whiskey cask design aims to reduce whiskey evaporation losses.

So let’s see what’s happening this week in our Irish whiskey news.

Irish Whiskey News - Feb 20 - 2020 - Lough Neagh Distillers

Lough Neagh Distillers to ‘ramp up growth plans’ after US listing

Launched 15 months ago by Irish entrepreneur Vernon Fox, Lough Neagh Distillers will now sell its 18-year-old Coney Island, six-year-old O’Neill’s Tower and three-year-old Ferryman’s Irish whiskeys across 100 retailers in Pennsylvania. The deal, agreed with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, will see the distiller’s first products launch in the US from May 2020. Lough Neagh Distillers is targeting exports of 20,000 cases by 2023.

The brand’s US breakthrough was made during a recent trade mission organised by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon (ABC) Borough Council. The three-day trade mission saw 10 companies from the region travel to the US to seek out export contacts, build relationships and secure new deals. Fox said: “This transformational US deal realises our ambitions and means immediate expansion and renewed investment to scale up our operations at home.

Irish Whiskey News - Feb 20 - 2020 - Scotch BonnetHas a cask maker answered whisky distillers’ ‘angels’ share’ prayers?

A spirit cask maker thinks it has cracked the secret to minimising an expensive side effect of whisky maturation. The Scotch Bonnet cask is designed and manufactured to reduce the amount of spirit which evaporates from casks during their years of maturation – commonly referred to as the ‘angels’ share’. Ross Morrison, director of Scotch Bonnet and whisky industry veteran, spoke with various distillers about the bane of the ‘angels’ share’ and its direct impact on their profitability. He collaborated with friend Ken Hooker, owner of packaging firm Proteus, to create the Scotch Bonnet cask.

Made from sustainably sourced, natural fibreboard, the cask does not eliminate evaporation from the barrel but has been shown to significantly decrease it without affecting the taste of the spirit. After 42 months of testing with a distillery in Scotland, which came to an end in 2019, the team behind Scotch Bonnet has hailed it a success. They claim as much as 5.5kg of malt spirit was saved from evaporation over the period, which was subsequently used in blending. The Scotch Bonnet is now patented worldwide and is being used by spirit distillers in Scotland, North America, Taiwan and the Caribbean.


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