Irish whiskey: whole lotta’ sippin’ going on

The Irish Whiskey Association announced an ambitions plan to grow global market share by 300 percent over the next 15 years, from 4 percent to 12 percent. The “Vision for Irish Whiskey” was released 12 May and is generating a lot press attention.

“Irish whiskey led the world in 1900, with 88 distilleries in operation – but a combination of events meant the sector went into decline and Scotch and bourbon took over,” The Irish Times reported.

What happened?

“After Ireland declared independence in 1919, England enacted a trade embargo against it, and then Prohibition shut down the United States market,” according to a story in the Daily Beast. “By the 1960s only a few Irish whiskey distilleries remained and they consolidated into Irish Distillers Ltd., which produced Jameson, Bushmills and Powers.”

The IWA plan calls for capital investment in new distilleries and brands, plus strong marketing and promotion, including the creation of an all-island whiskey tourism trail. Here’s a map.