9 casks to be shared worldwide across select markets, including USA, Canada, Russia and Ireland
In 2019, Irish distillery tourism enjoyed a successful year, with Drinks Ireland/Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) stating that visitor numbers to Irish distilleries exceeded one million for the first time.
COVID-19, however, has severely impacted the tourism sector, and distilleries have felt the knock-on effects. In an interview with The Spirits Business, Humphrey Serjeantson, research director at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, said: “Global consumption of Irish whiskey is forecast to decline by 14.1% in 2020 in volume terms, and will return to 2019 levels by 2022.
“The huge fall in tourism in 2020 due to Covid‐19 will have an impact on Irish whiskey. Duty free is the second largest market [by volume] for the category, and the downturn in passenger numbers in 2020 (and likely well beyond) will have a significant negative impact on sales.
“A drop in tourism to Ireland will inevitably mean visits to distilleries are reduced, and especially for smaller players this is a key way to raise brand awareness.”
With the country now facing a 6-week level 5 lockdown as it enters into the winter months, it is expected that this downward trend will continue.
Walsh Whiskey have announced a limited-edition release of ‘The Irishman Founder’s Reserve – Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish, ‘ a blend of single malt and single pot still premium whiskeys. According to the group, this is the first time The Irishman Founder’s Reserve has been finished in Oloroso sherry casks. The release is timed for the Christmas market, and is limited to just 9 sherry butts, which will yield just over 8,000 bottles. The casks are being distributed to a limited number of markets including the USA, Canada, Russia, Ireland, and a select number of other key regions.
Announcing the limited-edition release, Bernard Walsh, creator of The Irishman range of whiskeys and Managing Director of Walsh Whiskey, said: “This decadent Oloroso sherry finish to Founder’s Reserve, which is our original whiskey, combines to deliver Christmas in a bottle. It is meant to be a treat to accompany the rich baking and cooking of the festive season, and of course to either reflect on the day or to share with your nearest and dearest.”