WhistlePig Whiskey Expands Into The Irish Category

Food & Drink

For over a decade, WhistlePig has been a name synonymous with “ultra-premium rye” whiskey. The Vermont-based farm distillery practically invented the term in an era when ryes rarely sold for more than $20 a bottle. Now the brand has its eyes set on additional categories of brown spirit. Earlier this summer saw the arrival of Beyond Bonded—a single barrel bourbon proofed to 100.1. This week, expansion comes by way of acquisition. Get ready for Limavady Irish Whiskey.

The move by WhistlePig is a bold one—an independent American Whiskey company officially establishing a global portfolio. But Irish spirit is a particularly auspicious subset to be dipping your toes in, these days. Sales of whiskey from the Emerald Isle climbed 6.9% between 2019 and 2020, according to the latest data from the Distilled Spirits Council. With total sales eclipsing 5 million cases in the US, it’s been among the fastest growing categories here for the better part of a decade.

Darryl McNally thinks he can carry it further into the future by digging deep into its past. The Irish native, and legendary former Bushmills distiller was responsible for resurrecting the Limavady legacy. Seated along the River Roe in a bucolic corner of Northern Ireland, this historic town humbly holds onto a whiskey-making lineage stretching all the way back to 1750. McNally was born here, and looks to use his hometown as launchpad for a single barrel expression of the native juice.

“I’ve been working in the Irish whiskey industry for a long time and reclaiming the Limavady whiskey name has been a long-held dream of mine,” says McNally. “Finally bringing it to market is already a huge leap for me but teaming up with a visionary company like WhistlePig to do so makes it even more exciting.”

As he waits for the Limavady Distillery to come on-line, McNally will be unveiling well-matured barrels of single malt stock sourced from a renowned Irish producer. WhistlePig, meanwhile, will manage bottling and distribution for the nascent brand. It all begins with the debut release in August. A single barrel, single malt adorned in a baby blue label, set to retail for $50. WhistlePig CEO Jeff Kozak sees it as just the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

“I originally met Darryl at an industry event and then stayed in touch over the years,” Kozak recalls. “When we understood his desire to reimagine the category and learned of his plans to revive Limavady Whiskey, we jumped at the opportunity to partner with him.”

All it took was a trip to the town of Limavady—and a tour of the historic distillery grounds—and he was sold. Now it’s up to WhistlePig to do the selling. With years of craft whiskey bona fides under their belt they certainly have developed a thirsty audience. It’s time to see if they can carry that success from the farms of Vermont to the fields of Northern Ireland.

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