Derived from the Irish Gaelic phrase, uisce beatha which means “water of life”, Irish whiskey has been around since the 12th Century. Enjoyed by many in today’s day and age, Irish whiskey is part of a history that stems back centuries. It’s said that the Irish may have been the very first distillers in the British Isles and during the 19th-century Irish whiskey was wildly popular compared to its Scottish counterpart. In fact, the use of the “e” in whiskey was used by Irish whiskey to establish it apart from Scottish whisky.
Dublin was the home of Irish whiskey, it was even once seen as the whiskey capital of the world as the majority of Irish whiskey was made in Dublin as several of the world’s biggest distilleries were located there. During the 19th century, during Irish whiskey’s peak, it was accounting for around 60% of total global consumption.
However, shortly after its biggest boom, Irish whiskey went out of fashion. This long period of decline negatively impacted the industry, rapidly reducing the number of Irish whiskey distilleries. Until recently, there were only four operational distilleries that would produce Irish whiskey, which is minimal when compared to over 30 distilleries that existed previously.
Fast forward to today, Irish whiskey is back in the game with a rich range of styles and methods of production, especially considering its four functional and operational distilleries. However, with the increase in popularity that Irish whiskey has been experiencing since the late 20th century, every year since 1990 it has become the fastest-growing spirit in the world.
As of June of this year, there are now 25 distilleries that are now in operation in Ireland, with yet another 24 distilleries planned or currently under development. With brands such as Teeling Whiskey, Jameson and Tullamore D.E.W. offering not only whiskey, but also distillery tours and experiences, this is an industry that is seeing a resurgence.
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