At the New Midleton Distillery just outside of Cork, Ireland, three of the world’s largest operating copper stills stand two stories high, visible through floor to ceiling glass windows on the outside.
The hand-hammered beauties hold over 75,000 liters of liquid, Jameson Irish whiskey, to be precise. The company has three more arriving in 2017.
At any given time, Jameson is aging over a million casks of whiskey and loses 29,000 bottles a day to angels’ share alone (angels’ share is the natural 2-plus percent evaporation of alcohol that occurs while aging in barrels).
Based on these few numbers alone you’d think everyone in the world was drinking Jameson with breakfast. But who is drinking all this Irish whiskey?
Turns out Irish has been on a tear for two decades. And it’s largely because Irish whiskey is consistently better tasting and higher quality than it was back then, says Lew Bryson, author of Tasting Whiskey.
At one point, French liquor giant Pernod Ricard owned two of the largest Irish whiskey brands, Bushmills and Jameson, and “sank large amounts of money” researching how to make the whiskeys better and more consistent, he says.
That investment’s now paying off in spades and allowing Irish whiskey, which in the last century nearly disappeared, to revive and prosper.
Irish whiskey sales in the U.S. alone have jumped by over 500 percent since 2002, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). It’s the fastest growing category in the spirits industry, and yet Irish whiskey still makes up a mere five percent of the whiskey category.
“When you drink scotch, you picture being at home by the fire, plotting the downfall of your enemies. With Irish you picture being at the bar with friends.”
Though new Irish whiskey labels are finding space on liquor store shelves and 29 new Irish whiskey distilleries are expected to open in the next decade, according to Tim Herlily, U.S. brand ambassador for Tullamore DEW, most of the growth is attributed to large brands who are attracting new, loyal drinkers.
Herlily says Tullamore DEW, which is owned by large liquor player William Grant & Sons, has been growing steadily and currently sells 140,000 cases annually in the U.S.
“Irish whiskey has transitioned from being a shot-with-a-beer to a ‘plus-one’ drunk with a mixer, most notably ginger ale. Irish and ginger has exploded, and made Irish whiskey quite popular,” Bryson says. “That’s taken Irish [whiskey] out of the ‘old white guy; ghetto and into the mainstream. Add in the growing popularity of all things Irish, the explosion of Irish pubs around the world, and you’ve got a great recipe for success.”
Via the Daily Beast
This article is long as shit so I’ll spare you the pain. Basically it’s saying that young people are buying more and more Irish whiskey because it seems cooler than any other kind of whiskey. Which I think is bullshit. Anyone who pictures a leather sofa by a fire when thinking about scotch, or about cowboys when thinking about bourbon is a god damn moron who probably has never drank whiskey a day in their life. But hey, it’s great that Irish whiskey is getting some love because I feel like the opposite conclusion is true. I think that Irish and Canadian have fallen incredibly behind in this whole whiskey burst. Bourbon and rye have absolutely fucking exploded, Scotch is always a constant, and I feel like Irish and Canadian haven’t really caught fire just yet. But Irish does have something about it that makes it more casual. Maybe it’s because Jameson is used in so many seedy, degenerate-like drinks that are purely awesome. So go ahead, Irish, carve out your niche in the whiskey world as the cooler cousin of Scotch.