Peter Mulryan’s publication, The Whiskeys Of Ireland, is a welcome exploration of the Irish Whiskey landscape.
Packed full of historical information, anecdotes & photographs, the current rise of Irish Whiskey is given texture & depth.
The reasons for the demise of Irish Whiskey in the early 1900’s is still a contentious issue.
The usual trinity of prohibition, war & the rise of Scotch are generally trotted out by way of explanation.
However it’s clear from reading this book that opposition by the major players in Irish Distilling at the time to the emerging & revolutionary new technology of the Coffey Still of the 1830’s was a major factor.
Shunning this invention – and lambasting blended whisky as silent – gave the Scotch Whisky industry an opening which they enthusiastically embraced.
It wasn’t until the late 1960’s that Irish Whiskey eventually championed blended whiskey with the launch of a reimagined Jameson coupled with aggressive marketing that things slowly started to turn round.
As late as 1988 Jameson was only selling 466,00 cases globally.
Proper Twelve sold that much alone in the US in it’s first meteoric couple of years.
Irish Whiskey is still dominated by a few players – but there is much more diversity & innovation in the category as a whole.
Cooley kickstarted that diversity by double distilling & reintroducing peated Irish Whiskey to the market. This in turn has led to a positive proliferation of distilleries, brands, styles, customers & consumers flocking to the industry.
It’s fabulous to witness.
Irish Whiskey has never been in better health.
The Whiskeys Of Ireland is a great book to read – preferably with a glass of Irish Whiskey – to grasp what Irish Whiskey was, what it became & where it is now.
Where it’s going is all to play for.