Keeper’s Heart Whiskey was created to celebrate and unlock the moments worth keeping.
A History of
Whiskey, Irish Style
The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Irish Whiskey
Irish whiskey is one of the oldest styles of whiskey known to man, and arguably one of the best. At one time it was the prevailing and most popular style of whiskey in the world.
Although Prohibition (and other factors) put an end to Irish Whiskey’s reign, the 21st century has brought a re- surgence of demand for Irish whiskey, especially for the traditional style of triple distilled pot still whiskey, and we believe Irish style whiskey is where it’s at.
Missionary monks are thought to be the first to bring the art of distilling to Ireland, decades before the technology reached other parts of Europe.
These first distillates were called uisce beatha, a Gaelic term for “water of life”. Over time, that phrase was changed to the easier whiskey, but the meaning still holds significance today.
When the word whiskey was added to The Dictionary of English in 1755, Samuel Johnson made special note that “...the Irish sort is particularly distinguished for its pleasant and mild flavor”. It was the most popular whiskey in the world during the 19th century, and became the most popular spirit when French Cognac grape crops were destroyed by disease during the 1880s.
It was the introduction of the Coffey Still that started the decline of the Irish whiskey industry. The competition was able to make their spirits quicker, and at a lower cost, while the Irish distilleries still relied on the slower (yet more flavor-producing) pot still.
Then there was Ireland’s fight for independence at the beginning of the century. Once independence from England had been achieved, the distilleries in Ireland lost access to their largest market at the time. This was devastating for the industry, especially after prohibition was declared in the United States. Not only did this halt sales to the “new world” for over a decade, bootleggers were passing off cheap whiskey as being Irish. As a result, an entire generation of spirit lovers became wrongly turned off to the real thing.
The final blow to Irish whiskey was World War II, when over 150 distilleries were destroyed or had to shut down resulting in only a handful of distilleries surviving.
We are incredibly excited to bring Irish-style distilling back to the forefront of the whiskey world. As the first to bring triple copper pot distilling to the US at scale, we invite you to be part of our journey.
The 21st century has been good to the Irish whiskey industry. The resurgence in popularity for the traditional Single Pot Still style of whiskey along with an appreciation for the smooth and flavorful style of triple distillation has resulted in Irish whiskey becoming the fastest growing category over the last decade.