Jameson beer and whiskey collaboration rolls outBy Amy Hopkins
Following an initial launch in Ireland and recent expansion to the US, Jameson will roll out its Caskmates range of Irish whiskeys aged in beer-seasoned barrels around the world.
Jameson Caskmates is a result of a collaboration between Irish Distillers’ Midleton Distillery and Cork-based microbrewery Franciscan Wells.
The partnership began in 2013 when Midleton agreed to lend some Jameson casks to the brewery in order for its to experiment with the influence of Irish whiskey casks on stout.
After ageing beer for three months, these barrels were then returned to the Midleton Distillery and subsequently used to finish traditionally-aged Jameson Irish whiskey for five to six months.
“We were all blown away by what we tasted,” said Quinn. “We were experienced a very different style of whiskey. It was still discernibly Jameson but underlying this were nuances of coffee, butterscotch and some hops in the background.
“The stout barrels also affected the mouth-feel of the whiskey, making it more creamy. It was caused by a three-way interaction between the whiskey, the stout and the wood, giving us something very unique.”
Just 2,000 bottles of Caskmates were first launched in Dublin in 2013, however both Franciscan Wells and Midleton have worked together to build up stocks for a “more substantial” launch. This has been further enabled by Franciscan Wells’ recent expansion.
“Because of the link between the two [Midleton and Franciscan Wells], there could be some supply and demand issues,” Quinn adds.
The brewery is now using Jameson barrels to age different types of beer, which could form the next edition of Caskmates.
Jameson also plans to partner with more local breweries to launch other Caskmates bottlings – however these will be very limited edition and available only in local markets.
Plans are currently underway to launch a pack containing a Jameson-infused Franciscan beer and Franciscan beer-infused Jameson, The Spirits Business understands.
“Jameson and stout are no strangers behind the bar, but for the first time ever they have come together to create our latest innovation, Jameson Caskmates,” said Brendan Buckley, global innovation director at Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard.
“The story goes right to our heart in Cork, where our Midleton Distillery and the Franciscan Well Brewery are located, and represents what we are most passionate about: Irish craftsmanship, collaboration and innovation.
“With Jameson Caskmates, we hope to surprise and delight existing Jameson drinkers by providing them with an authentic, new whiskey experience, as well as to recruit craft beer fans globally to the Irish whiskey category.”
Bottled at 40% ABV, Jameson Caskmates is available from September 2015 in eight markets including the South Africa and Ireland, at the RRP of €38.99, US$29.99 or local equivalent.
The bottling’s US launch was announced earlier this month.