First off – Sazerac taking over Lough Gill Distillery in the wonderful scenery of County Sligo, Ireland is fantastic news for Irish Whiskey as a whole.
It shows the confidence a large international player has in the future potential of Irish Whiskey for them to lay down roots & invest in that future.
I’ve read a lot of guff about Celebrity Brands – a lot of it negative – yet any company not involved in Celebrity Brands at the moment is missing out on the current zeitgeist that’s witnessing massive growth in the category.
Interestingly both Paddy & Michael Collins Irish Whiskey are Celebrity Brands.
The fact those celebrities are historic – and dead – might make them easier to market & handle over current living celebrities.
Nonetheless Sazerac have already boosted sales of Paddy Irish Whiskey since acquiring the brand from Irish Distillers & I see no reason Michael Collins Irish Whiskey cannot follow suite.
A sense of place?
Reams of marketing PR & fawning bloggers big up the idea a sense of place is integral to the quality & taste of whiskey.
Outside of a few micro distilleries practicing farm to glass single estate distilling – even then the taste differences can be miniscule – I just don’t buy it.
The original Paddy Irish Whisky was distilled in Cork for the Cork Distillery Company. CDC in turn was merged into Irish Distillers who continued to produce Paddy at New Midleton Distillery. Lough Gill Distillery will now fly the flag.
Will any of the growing band of consumers notice this?
I doubt it.
The brand changes & morphs through time. What it tasted like in 1877 may bear no resemblance to what it is now – or in the future – but it’s still Paddy Irish Whiskey. All that history & rich legacy is part of it – but history & legacy are not actual tasting notes that can be ascertained on drinking a whiskey.
I’m not expecting much innovation at Lough Gill.
What I am expecting is building on the solidity of both Paddy & Michael Collins Irish Whiskey to expand & grow in both the local and international markets.
Athrú Irish Whiskey is a premium brand currently using sourced aged stock for their lovely product. It’s going to be a bit of a wait before any Lough Gill distillate hits the market under that brand name.
The future looks bright for Irish Whiskey – even brighter for Lough Gill Distillery. Developments at the facility will be eagerly awaited.
I wish all the team at Lough Gill Distillery much future success.
Cork Distillery background here.
Paddy Whiskey history here.
Sazerac buys Lough Gill Distillery here.
Celebrity Brands boost sales here.
Irish Whiskey sales set to overtake Scotch here.
Sazerac Brand list here.