Adding weight to Mary Harney's famous remark about our affinity with Boston, the big whiskey news last week was the first public tasting of the Irish Whiskey Society of America (IWSA) in that city. While affiliated with with the Dublin-based Irish Whiskey Society, the IWSA was entirely willed into existence by Boston's own whiskey blogger, Rich Nagle.
We know Rich well on this side of the Atlantic because he pops up in Ireland from time to time to attend a tasting, tour a distillery or two, and raid the whiskey shops. He champions the knowledgeable appreciation of a fine spirit in the relaxed company of friends. I know the Boston meetings will be, therefore, both illuminating and fun. We look forward to reciprocating Rich's visits to the Dublin tastings and forging strong, personal links with our fellow enthusiasts across the water.
The Boston chapter is intended as the prototype for meetings across the US. The potential is there. Consumer demand has already encouraged Irish Distillers to start shipping more of its brands to the US. Paddy, Powers and Redbreast are now available as a result. There are even fine expressions of Irish whiskey, like Knappogue Castle, that are easier to come by in the US than in Ireland!
America has been drinking Irish whiskey for centuries. Here's a nice pre-Prohibition snap from a New York baseball park in 1912 (from the Library of Congress collection):