One thing we tend to forget when we buy our favourite single malt or blend is the huge and complex supply chain that ensures your bottle is sitting there on the shelf waiting for you to buy it.
Last week I covered the bigger names in Irish whiskey. This week we look at some newcomers — 10 have opened in the past few years and 22 are at the planning or building stages. Should they all be built, Ireland will have more distilleries than during its 19th century heydays.
It seems the great distillery renaissance that is sweeping Scotland and England is also sweeping across the whole of Ireland. That is good news, as Ireland saw its whiskey industry decimated nearly a century ago by a string of cruel circumstances.
For classic car fans, Perth and Scone Palace are THE places to be today. Why? Because 150 classic cars, from Model T Fords to Bugatti Veyrons, are on parade from Scone to Tay Street and back—all in the aid of charity.
Maybe I’m mistaken but we seem to have lost our ability to laugh about alcohol and its funny consequences. In bygone years, the village drunkard was a standard character in countless plays. Arguably, there are more jokes about drink than about sex. Music hall, radio and TV comedy sketches often portrayed the hazards of too much drink, especially whisky, but they made people laugh, they didn’t wag a censorious finger or make moral judgements.
Several times I’ve mentioned two globally best-selling whiskies which we hardly ever see, or have even heard of, in Britain. These are Label 5 (currently Number 9 in worldwide sales) and William Peel (Number 6).
For all that monasteries and convents are rare today, for centuries they were powerful institutions that played an important role in society. Monks were among the few people who could read and write in an era of near-total illiteracy. They also developed agricultural and scientific ideas and took them to other countries.
Distilling seems to be THE growth industry in these islands. This stems from growing global demand for spirits and to UK legal changes that encouraged the start-up of small, independent distilleries for the first time in two centuries. The new distillery list is formidable, with others being mooted and planned every month.
The motor industry is a ruthless place. However good the cars a firm makes, they have to sell well and be profitable if the firm is to survive.
For all the growing interest and publicity surrounding single malts, blended whiskies are still the volume sellers globally and in the UK. However, it is interesting to note how brands that sell well in the UK do not necessarily repeat that success overseas and brands that sell well globally are, very often, just also-rans on the UK market.