It's hard to say what exactly triggered the huge interest in Irish Whiskey, but one thing is for certain, it is being fully embraced.
Not only have independent distilleries been appearing all over the country, but the bigger producers are quickly creating new brands and investing in revamping old ones.
We take a closer look at five new distilleries, both independent and established, to get an idea of where Irish Whiskey is heading (explore more with our interactive map of Irish Distilleries).
1. Roe & Co.Perhaps the biggest indicator aside from actual sales, if Irish Whiskey's rise is the fact that Diageo are trying to get back into the market. Having sold their only Irish brand, Bushmills, to Jose Cuervo two years ago they are missing out on all the action.
To get back into the game, they have recently developed Roe & Co., a new brand of Irish Whiskey based in Dublin. The aim with Roe & Co. is to create a premium Irish dram, a sector of the market where Irish brands are looking to be more well represented.
It feels pretty special walking through these gates on the first day of the new job. Absolutely delighted to share my (not so secret anymore) news - today I joined the team at the most famous brewery in the world as Head Distiller for @roeandcowhiskey - George Roe's Distillery was once the largest in Ireland and stretched over 17 acres here on Thomas Street. We are building our new distillery in the beautiful former brewery powerstation, and once we are in operation we will be Diageo's smallest distillery (ð). Irish whiskey as a category holds such a captivating balance between tradition and innovation and this is totally a dream role for me. Please follow us on the new adventure - I hope you are as excited as I am. #roeandcowhiskey #dublin #ireland
Diageo are also planning to build a new distillery in Dublin, called St. James's Gate, near to its Guinness brewery. This is also close to the site a distillery once owned by George Roe, whom the Whiskey is called after.
2. TeelingTeeling is an independently owned distillery based in Dublin. They have a fantastic connection to Whiskey history not only in the fact that their ancestors were distilling in the 1700s but also that they are the first distillery to be founded in Dublin in 125 years. The distillery is based in the Newmarket area, close to where Walter Teeling first founded the original Teeling distillery.
Today it is being run by his descendants, brothers Jack and Stephen. Considering they only opened in 2015 it will be interesting to watch them develop their innovative brand and see what Whiskey creations they uncover along the way.
3. Midleton micro-distilleryDiageo are not the only big brand investing in Irish Whiskey. Jameson, the biggest selling Irish Whiskey in the world, are seeing a lot of expansion in recent years and their newest development is a micro-distillery at their Midleton site.
This distillery is planned as part of an "innovation Hub" and promises to explore and experiment with both old and new Whiskey recipes, under the watchful eye of Ireland's distiller Karen Cotter. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of their micro distillery is that they have uncovered old recipes that were once used by John Jameson III.
This is definitely one to watch not only for the incredible Whiskey history that has been discovered but also for the exciting plans they have to bring Whiskey into the future.
4. Slane Irish WhiskeyBased in the beautiful Slane Castle, this Whiskey is to be released in Ireland in April and in the UK in May of this year. The distillery itself has only recently complete construction and these releases will be made up of liquid soured from elsewhere.
The brand was recently bought over by an American distributor, Brown-Forman and promises big things on its release.
Perhaps most interestingly, this Whiskey will be triple casked Like Roe & Co., Slane Irish Whiskey will be positioned on the market as premium and super-premium, hoping to fill the gap of Irish Whiskey in this market.
5. Waterford DistilleryWaterford Distillery has great connections to the Whiskey world through Mark Reynier, who has previously held the position of MD at Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay. He is now running things in Waterford and hoping to recreate Bruichladdich’s success in Ireland.
Waterford Distillery had its first spirit run in December 2015. The distillery is experimenting and innovating with the elements that create Whiskey.
For instance, they currently source their barley from 46 different farms, growing 19 species of barley on multiple soil types. This will give them a great chance at working out just what combination makes the perfect barley for malting. Exciting things are definitely in the future for Waterford Distillery.