Redbreast -Interview part1

The Irish have a very strong culture, much alive in music, song, poetry and
dance. This display of culture has always been accompanies by drink,
normally Whisky or porter. In Gaelic it is often referred to as “Ol agus
Ceol” drink and music.

The Irish Distillers are the key players in Irish Whiskey production. Their
Category Development Director Brendan Buckley was recently available to us
for some questions.

Brendan, How long have you been involved with Irish Distillers?
I joined Irish Distillers in 2001 as a Marketing Manager working in the
Irish market for some of our leading whiskey brands in Ireland such as
Powers and PADDY. I eventually became the head of marketing for Ireland
before I moved the international side of the business 18 months ago where I
am now responsible for developing our full range of whiskey brands
throughout the world.

What are the major developments within Irish whiskey nowadays?
Well, the single most notable development in Irish whiskey over the past
10 to 15 years has been the growth of our flagship brand, Jameson. When
Irish Distillers joined the Pernod Ricard group in 1998, we sold just over
400,000 ce worldwide. In late 2010, Jameson broke the 3 million case
barrier and in doing so has introduced a whole new generation of whiskey
drinkers to the unique qualities and charms of Irish whiskey. This has in
turn stimulated an interest in the category as a whole and that is why you
are seeing many new Irish whiskeys, both ourselves at Irish Distillers and
from other producers, emerging into the market place.

More importantly for you, what’s happening in Irish Distillers?
Well obviously, Jameson is still the most important thing which is
happening at Irish Distillers as it continues to grow and attract new
consumers. Indeed its growth has meant that we are about to undertake a
major expansion program at our distillery in Midleton which will see us
doubling our distillation and maturation capacity over the next 5 years.
Additionally, we are now placing greater investment into some of our other
whiskey brands such as Redbreast and Powers. In particular, we are about
to embark on a major new initiative which aims to reinvigorate our range of
Single Pot Still whiskeys. Pot Still whiskey is a style of whiskey which
is unique to Ireland in general and to the Midleton Distillery, in
particular. Made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley, pot still
whiskey is characterised by full complex flavours and a wonderful creamy
mouthfeel. Just over 100 years ago, Ireland was the largest whiskey
producing nation in the world and it was by and large, exclusively pot
still whiskey which was being produced. However, history dealt the Irish
whiskey industry and pot still whiskey a series of heavy blows so much so
that by the end of the 20th century only two brands of pot still whiskey
existed, Redbreast and Green Spot. The Midleton Distillery still uses pot
still whiskey as the key component in its blend brands such as Jameson and
Powers but there is a resurgence in interest in whiskeys which comprise
exclusively of pot still whiskey. Under the new 'Single Pot Still Whiskeys
of Midleton' initiative, we aim to restore pot still Irish whiskey toward
its former glory through the release of new expressions under current brand
names and under new brand names. This initiative will be launched at an
event on May 5th which will take place at the Midleton Distillery.

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