Irish Whiskey Association continues mentoring programmeBy Owen Bellwood
The Irish Whiskey Association and Irish Distillers hosted a mentoring event for fledgling brands at the Midleton Distillery last week.
Staff from 15 Irish whiskey distilleries took part in the mentoring event at the Midleton Distillery, where globally recognised brands from the world of Irish whiskey offered support and guidance to new brands entering the industry.
William Lavelle, head of the Irish Whiskey Association, said: “Ireland’s whiskey renaissance has seen the number of operational distilleries increase from four to 18 in just four years. Increased competition is very welcome and is helping drive growth and it’s great to see that the competition in our industry is being matched by an amazing sense of solidarity.”
Participants could attend practical demonstrations with established Irish whiskey leaders, which offered an insight into the techniques required to create quality Irish whiskey.
Workshops on cooperage and maturation provided new businesses with the opportunity to learn first-hand from experienced craftsmen.
The programme also taught whiskey makers about the importance of wood purchasing, the skills of cooperage, cask handling, and the principles of maturation and blending.
Kevin O’Gorman, head of maturation at the Midleton Distillery, stated: “Here at Irish Distillers, we’re always eager to work with people who share our passion for Irish whiskey. Over the years, we’ve always gone out of our way to work with anyone who wanted advice or mentoring on whiskey projects and it’s great to be able to collaborate with even more people thanks to the IWA mentoring programme.”
He continued: “Days like this when we get to share insights into our cooperage and maturation approach allow us all to build the positive culture of collaboration that is so prevalent within the industry. Seeing the passion of those working in the emerging Irish whiskey distilleries first-hand is invigorating and knowing that the future of Irish whiskey is in safe hands is truly inspiring.”
Irish whiskey has seen a boom in popularity recently, with spirits exports growing by 16% year-on-year.