Tag Archives: Ireland

Irish Labelling of Alcohol Proposals, Transparency, Clarity & Honesty in Action

The Alcohol Industry across Europe is getting a bit hot under the collar over Irish plans to label all alcoholic drinks with a health warning.

Labelling on a Pan European Rum – except in Germany where it’s Ron Bengalo!

I find the furore quite amusing.

It was – and still is – popular among many pundits to clamour for stricter labelling on alcoholic products. Be it whether caramel colouring was added or not, distillery of origin or cask maturation regime used in creating the liquid – it all results in further information being displayed on the label to inform the consumer.

Distilled in Bow St Distillery?

Some purists take it a step further in calling drinks companies dishonest for not showing such detail.

Yet when it comes to displaying additional health information – there seems to be opposition?

Mit Farbstoff – for Germany

The buzzwords used by the information brigade appear to hold true for the health label proposals.

It’s transparently clear there are health risks associated with drinking alcohol.

The labels will be giving clarity to those risks by displaying a warning.

What can be more honest than allowing such proposals to proceed?

Is the drinks business trying to hide something?

I find the outcry of extra costs to be a lame excuse.

Would Italian wording work in Ireland?

Various EU countries have a variety of labelling rules in action. Germany – for example – requires a statement to say if caramel colouring is added. Any producer operating in these jurisdictions already have to provide labelling to those differing states.

It’s business as usual as far as I can see.

I would however take a dim view of any producer lobbying against the health proposals.

Health warnings in Vietnam

To use the language of the purists – there’s a level of dishonesty by opposing such transparent & clear proposals designed to give additional information to the consumers.


Lancet article on Irish Health Proposals on Alcohol labelling here.

Opposition to health warnings here.


Red Locks Irish Whiskey, 40%, Blend

The recent World Whiskies Awards 2023 brought a gamut of worthy winners allowing them to boost their profiles & increase sales.

I enjoy perusing the winners – seeing what I’ve already enjoyed – what I could possibly obtain – or simply drool at the unavailable.

One winning bottle that struck me as being eminently affordable – in America – yet unavailable in the country where it was produced – Ireland – caught my eye.

Welcome to Red Locks Irish Whiskey.

Winning the Irish category for Blended Whiskey is no mean feat.

Congratulations to both Kieran Folliard – the entrepreneur behind the brand – and Noel Sweeney – the master blender who created the whiskey.

Kieran – who runs a chain of Irish bars & restaurants in Minnesota – previously launched 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey in the US.

2 Gingers achieved being the only whiskey to survive the shutting down of supply to 3rd parties when Beam took over control at Kilbeggan/Cooley Distilleries in Ireland. The very distilleries Noel Sweeney was Master Distiller at.

Perhaps being a big hit with it’s many customers influenced that decision.

Well the dynamic duo are back again with Red Locks.

Using a combination of ex- sherry, bourbon & rye barrels along with some virgin casks too, this 80/20, corn/barley, column/pot still mix clearly impressed the judges at the World Whiskies Awards.

It’s just a pity I’ll be unlikely to enjoy it in it’s home country of Ireland!


Images courtesy Red Locks website here,

& World Whiskies Awards 2023 page here.

Blog about Beam shutting down supply here.

2 Gingers acquired by Beam here.

Crag & Glen, Blended Scotch Whisky, 40%

I picked up Crag & Glen on my last Scottish trip.

Usually I stop at the last supermarket before the ferry to top up on haggis & booze that isn’t readily available in Ireland.

Sadly the Asda in Girvan had only 1 haggis left & it was too early in the morning for alcohol sales – so another plan emerged.

Sainsbury’s in Lisburn provided my needs.

There are no Sainsbury’s in Ireland – hence Argos pulling out – but Northern Ireland has them – so I indulged in some supermarket spirits.

I do enjoy trying out this category. There can be some good ones & being only a 35cl serving the outlay is minimal. Pity there’s little choice in this size.

Crag & Glen is Sainsbury’s own bottling. It has a suitably bold name that conjures up romantic notions of rugged Highland scenery, magnificent stags & warm drinks by a roaring fire.

Can tasting the whisky match the imagery?

First thing I notice is the golden brown hue of this 3 year old – very suggestive of added colouring & chill filtering – which you kinda have to expect at this price point.

The nose is mild, caramelly & honeyed sweet.

The label very aptly displays ‘smooth & rounded‘ – an accurate descriptor of the mouthfeel.

The finish is the best bit for me – a warm juiciness topped off with joyful prickliness leaving a dry lip-smacking finale.

As basic supermarket brands go Crag & Glen lives up to it’s imagery – minus the roaring fire!


Link to Sainsbury’s whisky page here.

Argos pulls out of Ireland here.

Zingibeer, Ginger Beer, 4%

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a ginger beer – especially an alcoholic one – so spotting this Dublin brewed offering had me hooked.

Very pale in colour – the label boasts natural ingredients & botanicals.

That ginger tang is evident on the nose.

Quite light & very refreshing on the palate. The ginger is more muted & balanced providing a pleasant spicy zing.

Makes for an entertaining alternative & attractive summer drinking experience.


Martell VS, Cognac, 40%

Martell Cognac is available in virtually every Irish supermarket.

Not too surprising – Pernod Ricard own the brand.

I picked up this miniature to give it a whirl.

The nose was quite expressive, rich, warm & inviting with a touch of nuttiness.

The nuttiness followed through on the palate which was pleasingly smooth yet offered some depth & fruity complexity.

A welcome soft tannic spice livened up the finish.

Before the phylloxera bug nearly destroyed the vineyards of the late 1800’s Cognac was the spirit of choice.

I can see why after enjoying the flavoursome delights of this Martell VS.

Worth trying.

All images authors own.

Concannon Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

You’d be forgiven for never hearing of Concannon Irish Whiskey before if you live in Ireland – as it’s mainly sold in the USA!

Concannon is a popular seller over the pond making it into the Top 10 of the biggest brands – appearing above Powers & Black Bush – so when an opportunity arose to purchase a miniature from the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder’s new sample service – Drams Delivered – my curiosity was piqued.

Interestingly this whiskey is finished in Petite Sirah casks from the Concannon Vineyard in California – which might partly explain it’s impressive sales!

The colour was reassuringly pale for a wine cask finish.

Sweet, fruity & honeyed on the nose. Gently inviting.

Quite a light palate with an attractive freshness.

Juicy sweet grain appears before a pleasing fruitiness topped off with a touch of prickliness gently fades away.

A very pleasant easy drinker with enough depth of flavour to keep it entertaining.



Concannon Vineyard website here.

Irish Whiskey Sales in America 2020 here.

Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol in Ireland

MUP – Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol became a ‘thing’ in Ireland on 4th January 2022.

Pegged at 10 cent per gram of alcohol it has effectively wiped out the sub €20 bottle of spirits I enjoyed reviewing.

Lidl & Aldi before MUP

Photographing the shelves of Lidl & Aldi beforehand – all stores have to comply – displays a range going from €14.49 for Samuel Joe’s & Western Gold Bourbon to €20 for Bushmills & Jameson Original.

Lidl & Aldi after MUP

Afterwards all these offerings are at the new minimum price of €22.09.

How the market for those previously sub €20 brands will fare out is hard to predict – I did however purchase a few before the price increase – as is the impact of MUP pricing in reducing the harmful effects of excess alcohol on Irish society.

One thing’s for certain though – The Time’s They Are A Changin’ 🎶


All images authors own.

Dead Centre, Vivid Trinity, 9.5%

Imperial Stout Aged in ex-rum barrels.

Vivid Trinity c/othewhiskeynut

Rich, sweet dark molasses with a touch of coffee.

Slips down too easily for such a monster of a beer.

9.5% c/othewhiskeynut

Four months in rum barrels has added so much enjoyable flavour to the mix.

Yum yum rum! c/othewhiskeynut

Yet more delights from Dead Centre Brewing!