A TOTAL of 17 million bottles of Tullamore DEW whiskey will be filled in 2019 in the Tullamore distillery, the company has revealed.
That is the equivalent of about 10 Tullamore DEW measures being drunk per second worldwide.
The figures were revealed by Tullamore DEW’s global brand ambassador, John Quinn, after he was awarded one of the most coveted accolades in the world whiskey business.
Mr Quinn was inducted into its hall of fame by Whisky Magazine, a UK-based publication which is regarded as the most important of its kind in the business.
“It is an incredible honour to be selected. I am truly grateful,” said Mr Quinn, a regular visitor to Tullamore since Scotch whisky maker William Grant took over the famous Offaly brand.
A native of Glasnevin, Dublin, he has been in the trade since 1974 and has been involved in the marketing of Tullamore DEW since 1994.
The hall of fame is a permanent tribute honouring those who have made a lasting contribution to the world of whiskey and it is a highly regarded accolade that emphasises Mr Quinn’s tenure.
Previously, in December 2018 Mr Quinn was appointed vice chairman of the Irish Whiskey Association and in 2016 was named ‘Whiskey Brand Ambassador’ of the year in Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky Awards.
In the same year he was also named one of the top 10 most influential people in Irish whiskey by The Spirits Business in 2016.
Speaking to the Tribune, Mr Quinn said his role as global brand ambassador is to “advocate and educate” about whiskey around the world, something he can do in a number of languages as he is in French and Spanish and also has a working knowledge of Portuguese and Italian.
He first worked for Irish Distillers and then the C&C group (makers of Bulmers and Magners cider) and he was delighted when William Grant took on the Tullamore DEW brand from C&C because he new the Scottish owners’ focus would be on developing the Irish whiskey product.
They invested heavily in the visitor centre on Bury Quay first and then built the new distillery in Tullamore, which began production in 2014 and has expanded significantly since, with the addition of a grain distillery and the bottling plant.
Tullamore DEW now employs 105 people in Tullamore, 85 at the distillery and another 20 in the visitor centre.
Mr Quinn says the Tullamore distillery is unique in the world. “We are bringing grain in at one end and we are sending whiskey out in filled bottles at the other,” he said.
This “grain to glass” approach differentiates Tullamore DEW from all other Irish whiskey makers, many of whom don’t have the facilities to distill, mature and bottle, as Tullamore now has.
Distilling, maturing and bottling on the same site reduces the company’s carbon footprint too, he argues.
“As we progress we’ll have less movement of whiskey in bulk. Literally the whiskey will be moved from the distillery to the warehouse and from the warehouse to the bottling plant and from the bottling plant to the containers and then around the world,” he says.
“It’s difficult for the distilleries in Dublin to do that, they can’t mature on site, many of the smaller distilleries wouldn’t have the bottling facilities. We’re very blessed that William Grant has taken this business on and has progressed it.”
Some Tullamore DEW is still distilled in Midleton, Co Cork, but in the coming years the spirit will be truly Tullamore, probably as soon as 2022.
“You’ll hold up a bottle and say every drop of this is made in that distillery, was matured in that distillery, was bottled in that distillery, has water that came from the Slieve Bloom mountains,” says Mr Quinn.
Though the Irish whiskey business is very vibrant across the world, it still takes a lot of investment and hard work to develop and maintain markets.
Mr Quinn said Tullamore DEW is doing extremely well in Poland and Russia, and in the latter country business has been “phenomenal” this year.
“We have potential in places like Africa and Asia where there is untapped potential. We are looking to grow that business significantly in the future. Irish whiskey in Asia is still a tiny category compared to Scotch so that has a whole lot of potential for us.”