Whisky Advocate

Irish whiskey media coverage: what about the rest of the year?

March 16th, 2009

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been reading about Irish whiskey everywhere I look:  trade magazines, consumer magazines, newspapers, etc. I was even asked to be on Fox Business TV Network this morning for an Irish whiskey “shoot-out” between Jameson and Bushmills. (I declined, but for the time being you can watch a video of it here. I’m not sure how long they’ll have it up there.)

Yes, it’s great that Irish whiskey is getting this coverage now. I love Irish whiskey and am very happy for any exposure it gets (as long as the information is accurate). But what about the rest of the year? How much Irish whiskey coverage will you read about in April? Or October?

Irish whiskey is as good as Scotch whiskey and equally as versatile as Scotch whiskey. But for Irish whiskey to be treated with the same respect as Scotch whiskey, it has to be covered by the media for the whole year–and perceived by the consumer as a year-round drink, rather than being pigeon-holed as something to do shots of on St. Patrick’s Day or to drown in an Irish Coffee (or worse, a Car Bomb).

14 Responses to “Irish whiskey media coverage: what about the rest of the year?”

  1. Neil Fusillo says:

    Come to think of it, how often does mainstream media cover whisk(e)y at all when it doesn’t relate to a current event? I mean yes, there are whisk(e)y bloggers and the occasional food/drink columnist that writes about it as a strict part of the profession, but I can’t say I see much in the way of coverage outside a niche market.

    I’m honestly surprised to see anyone doing coverage of Ireland’s whiskies at all, even at this time of the year. They tend toward family-friendly or current-event programming like talking about parades and maybe tying that in with a discussion of the recent spate of bombings from the still militant IRA break-away factions.

  2. MrTH says:

    Points taken, but…how many working distilleries are there in Ireland, and how many in Scotland? There is simply that much less to talk about, and it quite naturally gravitates to that time of year when Irishness comes to the fore. St Pat’s Day occupies an enviable position in popular American culture. There’s nothing on the Scottish calendar that comes close–not Burns Night, certainly not St Andrew’s Day. Go with it.

    Irish whiskey lovers might want to check out the nascent Irish Whiskey Society at:

  3. sku says:

    Excellent point and, as a blogger, I’m guilty of this as well. However, St. Patrick’s Day is when the public (at least in the US) is most interested in Irish Whiskey. I’d bet that in the US, a huge percentage of Irish Whiskey annual sales is accounted for in the first half of March.

    As an analogy, I love good chocolate and talk about it all year, but Valentine’s Day is when people really want to hear about it.

    I’m less concerned about the timing of Irish coverage than the content. To the extent the mainstream media can help people find good Irish Whiskey, even if they only do it on St. Pat’s day, I’m all for it, but a taste-off between Jameson and Bushmills? Get those folks some Redbreast for God’s sake.

  4. John Hansell says:

    Yeah, I guess we should just be happy for whatever coverage Irish whiskey gets, regardless of whenever it is. I still would like to see more coverage the rest of the year though.

  5. butephoto says:

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone!

  6. John M says:

    I agree with Mr T. When it comes to Irish whiskey, you run out of things to talk about quite quickly.

    I prefer Irish whiskey, generally, to any other, but the amount of brands on the shelf is very small compared to scotch because there are only three distilleries (four now, with another on the way).

    So, whether you’re talking about how good or bad a whisky brand is, statistically, at least, Scotland should have more in each category.


  7. John Hansell says:

    Yes, Mr. TH does make a good point about the disparity of distilleries (Irish vs. Scotch). Still, there has been a lot of interesting activities over the past year or so with the brands (Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve, Redbreast 15 yr., Bushmills 1608, and a plethera of new whiskeys from Cooley). Hopefully, these three distilleries can keep us entertained throughout 2009 too!

  8. Red_Arremer says:

    To a large extent, Scotch has swapped out the trappings of romantic traditionalism for the trappings of an exciting, diverse, cutting edge, luxury product category. The nature of it’s fans and the coverage it recieves reflect this. Do we really want Bourbon and Irish to follow suit?

  9. David says:

    One thing I would like to see less mention of is the “Car Bomb”. How about we name a few more cocktails after other incidents in which people were mutilated and killed? No? Then could we stop glorifying the terrorists who brought (and continue to bring) misery to Ireland and the UK?

  10. John M says:

    By the way, John, you should be thanked for your coverage of Irish whiskey. In an industry that can be snobbish about anything other than scotch, the likes of you and Jim Murray have done Irish whiskey a great service.


  11. John Hansell says:

    Thanks John. I’m an equal opportunity whiskey drinker (and promoter).

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