Reynier: Irish whiskey is not taken seriously

15th January, 2015 by Amy Hopkins

Bruichladdich’s former managing director Mark Reynier claims he will challenge the “flavoured whiskey and standardisation” strategies of large drinks groups with his new Irish whiskey distillery.


Mark Reynier believes there is “not enough mind-fuckery” in the Irish whiskey category

It was revealed late last year that Reynier had bought a former Guinness brewery in Ireland, with plans to transform it into an Irish whiskey distillery, called Waterford Distillery.

The site, previously owned by Diageo, will have an initial annual capacity for three million litres when operations start in 2016, with an innovative focus on barley and yeast.

However speaking to The Spirits Business, Mark Reynier expressed reservations over the term “innovation” and its prevalence among the marketing terminology used by large drinks groups.

“To the big drinks companies, innovation means flavoured whiskey and standardisation, which I am not very fond of; it’s a complete antithesis of what I do,” he said.

“Flavoured whiskey is shooting yourself in the foot and something that needs to be clarified in a sensible way, otherwise you risk throwing the baby out of the bathwater.

“Marketing companies are always looking at how they can increase the numbers, but doing that at the cost of devaluing the sector is a short term strategy.”

Scotch distillery Bruichladdich was sold to French Drinks group Rémy Cointreau for £58 million in 2012 after an overriding vote by the distillery’s board of directors.

Folllowing a brief two-year retirement period, Reynier now intends to enhance the Irish whiskey category with his Waterford Distillery, where he claims age statements will be “irrelevant” and caramel will be banned.

“We are building a significant distillery which will have a significant identity. This is not a tourist exercise, it’s not a romance thing; it’s hard-nosed distilling,” he added.

“I don’t think people take Irish whiskey seriously, because there isn’t anything with which to take it seriously. It’s easy doing accessible stuff, but there isn’t a great deal of mind-fuckery going on; it’s all just pretty simplistic stuff.

“Our aim is the put some meat on the bones and actually produce some serious whiskey.”

For Mark Reynier’s full interview and more on the Waterford Distillery, see the January 2015 issue of The Spirits Business magazine.

One Response to “Reynier: Irish whiskey is not taken seriously”

  1. Eric says:

    So Irish whiskey isn’t taken seriously because there isn’t anything to take it seriously???
    Is this guy for real?
    So Redbreast of any age is simplistic.
    Jameson Black Barrel the same.
    How about some of the Teeling expressions that experiment with various casks like ex-rum?
    Bushmills have some great Triple distilled malts, Cooley some great double distilled malts, Midleton some fantastic
    Triple distilled Pot Still and some tasty peated Connemara.
    What about Yellow Spot, Green Spot, Powers John’s Lane, Paddy Centenary?
    Midleton Rare and the various Jameson premium expressions? I wonder has Mark Reynier tasted Jameson 12 Year Old or Jameson Rarest Vintage?
    Don’t come over to Ireland with a Scottish opinion as Irish whiskey as being irrelevant. The fact that he’s here proves that Mark has in fact realised that more and more of the world consider Scotch to be old and stuffy – something that their parents or grandparents drink. The “Millenials” (twenty and thirty something’s) in important markets like the United States are more and more opting for Bourbons and Irish whiskey. Scotch is not suited to cocktails and unfortunately for the Scots, cocktail culture is sweeping the globe. And to further prove that Irish is not staid and stuffy, we don’t mind if our whiskies are used in cocktails or with ice or with ginger ale.
    Don’t get me wrong – there are some fantastic Scotches but please don’t forget that over 90% of the Scotch sales are not malts and are in fact blends with absolutely zero “mind-fuckery” in evidence!

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