Friday 15 June 2012

The Teeling Whiskey Company

The Teeling Whiskey Company (TWC) is a new arrival on the Irish whiskey scene but, of course, the Teeling name is practically whiskey royalty in this country. It was John Teeling who co-founded Cooley Distillery, his son Jack who was Managing Director at Cooley up until its sale to Beam, and his other son, Stephen, who remains at Beam as Senior Global Marketing Manager for Irish whiskey.

Although John and Jack both left Cooley after its sale, neither has any intention of quitting the whiskey business. The Teeling Whiskey Company is Jack's new venture and he was kind enough to share some of his plans with me.

The first product to hit the shelves will probably be a poitín, hopefully before the end of the year. Jack is very interested in continuing to build this distinctively Irish spirits category, having already tested the market successfully while at Cooley.

Together with Alex Chasko, another alumnus of Cooley, he is also working on a blended Irish whiskey that "will be different in taste to your standard Irish". Intriguing. It was a great coup to get Alex on the team at TWC. As Innovation Manager at Cooley, Alex was responsible for some of that company's best whiskeys and most promising experiments.

A few years ago, Cooley was offered a batch of single malt whiskey in-the-cask that the company declined to buy. Jack, however, snapped it up and TWC will make several releases from this stock over the next 18 months: a 21-year old, a 25-year old and a 30-year old. These should have a quite distinct taste profile to anything else out there.

They are also working on "some very specific barrel maturation projects" with the Celtic Whiskey Shop and looking to procure some other casks involving different whiskey styles and finishes for a single cask release programme.

The Teeling Whiskey Company is not yet in a position to distil its own whiskey but I'm guessing that will change quickly enough. A production facility is the only way to guarantee supply when global demand for Irish whiskey is growing so fast.

Clearly we can rely on the Teeling family to continue to spoil us with new and exciting whiskeys for a long time to come!