Irish Whiskey distilleres volunteer to mentor new entrants to help grow industry

Wednesday, 26 April 2017


26th April 2017 – Irish whiskey distillers from all over the island will come together today (Wednesday) to help drive one of Ireland’s most famous exports to new heights.

A unique programme will see established global players help new competitors to establish their distilleries and produce premium Irish Whiskey for sale through the Irish Whiskey Association Mentoring Programme.

The Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) hosted programme is part of a massive drive to double Irish Whiskey exports to 144 million bottles over the next three years and to triple Irish whiskey tourists to almost two million by 2025.

As part of the programme, experienced distillers from whiskey leaders like Bushmills and Irish Distillers will share their knowledge, expertise and time with many of the 27 new distilleries setting up on the island of Ireland.

“The Irish Whiskey Mentoring programme is a unique opportunity for aspiring distillers to meet with and learn from the best in the industry,” said Miriam Mooney, Head of the IWA.

“The mentoring partnership is beneficial for both new entrants and also established players. New entrants bring new whiskeys and stories to the global market, and established companies impart their knowledge and expertise. All players recognise the need for the world class quality and premium nature of Irish whiskey to be maintained. We trade on our reputation and that affects everyone.”

More than 40 participants have completed stage one of the mentoring workshop to date and seven distilleries which are at various stages of development have been assigned their own personal mentor.

“Until recently there were just four distilleries in operation on this island, now there are 16 with another 15 at various stages of planning,” said Miriam Mooney.

“The success of new distilleries is essential to creating an Irish whiskey tourism offering that attracts visitors from around the globe to every corner of Ireland. The Whiskey tourism strategy’s aim is to deliver €1.3 billion to rural and urban centres in Ireland every single year.”

The programme has already had its successes. Walsh Whiskey Distillery at Royal Oak in Carlow recently opened a new €25 million distillery and produces two premium whiskeys, The Irishman and Writers’ Tears.

Bernard Walsh, Managing Director of Walsh Whiskey Distillery, worked closely with Irish Distillers, as he prepared to commission his distillery .

“The Irish whiskey mentoring programme offers new distilleries like ours a key opportunity to learn from some of the best craftsmen in the world. The expertise shared with me during the mentoring programme was invaluable,” said Bernard Walsh.

For their part, Irish Distillers, say that maintaining integrity of the product is vital.

David Quinn, Technical Director of Irish Distillers, said “The best thing we can do to guarantee that the Irish whiskey renaissance continues into the future is to help ensure that every bottle of whiskey leaving this island is a strong ambassador for our industry. Working with the Irish Whiskey Association on this programme is a great way to ensure that we have high quality and innovative brands representing Ireland around the world.”


Notes to Editor

Irish Whiskey Mentoring Programme
The Irish Whiskey Mentoring Programme includes:
    Workshops hosted by the Irish Whiskey Association where industry experts from a number of companies will share their knowledge on issues such as production, branding, route to market, and licensing requirements;
    A one-stop-shop online portal to help new market entrants with business planning;
    Active mentoring where mentor companies will be paired with new entrants to support distillery planning, design, construction and commissioning;
    Production workshops to ensure that the high quality, premium nature of this cherished category is protected and furthered.
    The Irish Whiskey Mentoring Programme consists of four stages. Three of these stages are now up and running and the fourth is currently in development.

    Since the launch of the whiskey mentoring programme in October 2016, more than 40 people have participated in the stage one workshop.

    Seven distilleries are now at the advanced stage on the mentoring programme which pairs up new distilleries with the master distillers from Ireland’s leading distilleries such a Bushmills and Irish Distilleries.

    Some of the distilleries involved in the mentoring programme include Bushmills Distillery, Cooley Distillery, Clonakilty Distillery, Irish Distillers, Sliabh Liag Distillery and Walsh Whiskey Distillery.

    The programme gives participants a unique insight into production, routes to market, warehousing and technical requirements from Ireland’s most esteemed distillers.