Sunday 31 July 2016

Oliver Hughes

There are two people in the Irish whiskey industry that I put in a category of their own: John Teeling and Oliver Hughes. They share an ability to speak about business in plain language openly, honestly and generously with anyone, and they have inspired countless entrepreneurs in their wake as a result.

Sadly, Oliver Hughes passed away suddenly this weekend.

Oliver Hughes, at the opening of Dingle Distillery
Beer drinkers have cause to thank him for standing in the way of the total domination of multinational beer brands in Ireland, and for proving that brewing local craft beer is viable.

Spirits drinkers like myself are grateful for the Dingle Whiskey Distillery, the first of the new crop of distilleries to release a whiskey, Dingle Cask No. 2 (three years old, last December). Then there's Dingle Gin, the first of the new wave of Irish distilled gins. And Dingle Vodka.

Oliver's Dingle Whiskey Bar in Dublin is a home-from-home for the whiskey fan and venue for weekly whiskey classes with A Glass Apart author, Fionnán O'Connor.

For a slightly younger, trendier set, perhaps, there are the Dance & Distil sessions every weekend at Lillie's Bordello, where patrons can watch gins and flavoured vodkas distilled in front of them.

Oliver was also a co-founder of the forthcoming Sliabh Liag Distillery in County Donegal.

Oliver Hughes' opinions on business were never dull, often unprintable, always illuminating. The last time I spoke with Oliver was at Lillie's. He inspired an idea in my head that night that I have spent the last few months working hard on.

Thank you, Oliver.

My sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

Dingle Whiskey Distillery, Cask No. 1