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The History of Irish Whiskey

A bottle of Jamesons being poured into a whiskey glass with spash

The story starts sometime around 1405, well before the Scots has discovered their affinity for whisky. The story goes that Irish monks were the first to bring over the distillation and ageing processes they had learnt whilst travelling in the Mediterranean in the 11th century.

It was not until 1609 when Northern Ireland has its first licensed distiller, this was the Old Bushmills Distillery and was producing whiskey in large quantities for quite a long time.

Since then, Ireland had a number of whiskey distilleries in Dublin that were churning out gallons and gallons of the brown spirit every year and selling it both in Ireland and England as well as shipping it over to the growing Irish population in the US.  By 1805, Jameson’s distillery was producing over 1 million gallons of whiskey each year, that clearly shows us the popularity of the product but also the extent to which production was focussed in Dublin itself.

Soon after. The whole market took a really large hit due to the Independence war in Ireland which put a big stop on production and demand whilst also the prohibition era in the US had just started and bootlegging was the only way anyone could get their hands on the Irish whiskey.

Since then, the industry has seen a resolute and steady climb back towards the heights it once enjoyed pre-independence but in a new world with more competition, this took a lot more time than expected.

It was in 1966, Jameson merged with a few more Dublin distillers to create the Irish Distillers Group who moved their production out of Dublin’s equivalent of Silicon Valley for Whiskey and moved to the much cheaper and more spacious Cork to continue their distillation process and production of whiskey at a bigger volume than they had individually ever seen.

20 years later, Pernod Ricard purchased the Irish Distillers Group including the Jameson brand, which was now the most popular in the world. This would seem a really strong move from the french company as 10 million cases of Irish whiskey were sold in 2019 alone and there seems to be no stopping the spirit from achieving world domination.

Some of our favourite Irish Whiskey brands include Jameson and Proper Twelve, a new whiskey in the market but one that is proud to be representing Ireland on the world stage.

You can explore our full St Patrick’s Day here and explore all of our Irish drinks!

 

 

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