For over a decade has WhistlePig has been a name synonymous with “ultra-premium rye” whiskey. The Vermont-based farm distillery practically invented the term in an era where reputation rarely sold for more than $ 20 per tonne. Bottle. Now the brand has turned its attention to additional categories of brown spirits. Earlier this summer saw the arrival of Beyond Bonded—A single barrel bourbon approved for 100.1. This week comes expansion by acquisition. Get ready Limavady Irish whiskey.
The movement from WhistlePig is bold – an independent American whiskey company that is officially creating a global portfolio. But the Irish spirit is a particularly congratulatory subset to dip the toes these days. Emerald Isle whiskey sales increased 6.9% between 2019 and 2020, according to the latest data from the Destilled Spirits Council. With total sales of 5 million cases in the United States, it has been among the fastest growing categories here in the better part of a decade.
Darryl McNally believes he can carry it further into the future by digging deep into the past. The Irish native and legendary former Bushmills distillery was responsible for reviving the Limavady heritage. This historic town sits along the River Roe in a bucolic corner of Northern Ireland and humbly holds on to a whiskey-making lineage dating back to 1750. McNally was born here and seems to use his hometown as a launch pad for a single barrel expression of the original juice.
“I have been working in the Irish whiskey industry for a long time and it has been a long-term dream for me to regain the Limavady whiskey name,” says McNally. “Finally, it’s already a big leap for me to bring it to market, but working with a visionary company like WhistlePig to do that makes it even more exciting.”
While waiting for Limavady Distillery to come online, McNally will unveil well-ripened barrels of single malt stock from a well-known Irish manufacturer. WhistlePig, meanwhile, manages bottling and distribution for the budding brand. It all starts with the debut release in August. A single barrel, single malt adorned with 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 kept in touch over the years,” Kozak recalls. “When we understood his desire to imagine the category again and learned about his plans to revive Limavady Whiskey, we jumped at the opportunity to partner with him.”
All it took was a trip to the city of Limavady – and a tour of the historic distillery area – and he was sold. Now it’s up to WhistlePig to sell. With years of craft whiskey bona fides under their belt, they have certainly 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.