Icons of Whisky: John Jameson

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John Jameson was born in 1740 in Alloa in Scotland, which may come as a surprise to some, but with the rich experience of distilling he gained in Scotland, he wet on to start the biggest selling Irish Whiskey brand in the world.

John Jameson’s Irish Whiskey has existed for centuries. Although it does not have claim to being the oldest distillery in Ireland. That goes to Bushmills in the North.

It does have claim to being the most popular. That accolade can be traced back to its founder, John Jameson.

Moving to Ireland

He started off his professional career as a Sheriff Clerk in Clakmannan and first came to Ireland from Scotland in 1777. Three years late in 1780 he started working as General Manager at the Bow Street Distillery, when it was first established.

He had connections to great distilling families such as the Haigs and Steins, through his wife. Jameson took the knowledge he had learnt of the craft in Scotland with him to Ireland.

It was actually the Steins who established the Bow Street Distillery and entrusted Jameson to oversee it.

Founding Jameson & Sons

He eventually took over the distillery completely in 1805. Later he changed the name to John Jameson & Sons.

From here he went on to lay the foundations of the most successful Irish Whiskey brand in the world.

But it wasn’t easy. Firstly he had to compete with around 1000 other distilleries that existed up and down Ireland at the time.

To achieve this, especially at a time when the Whiskey industry in Ireland was at its peak, meant that Jameson had to make the highest quality product.

He made sure that all his ingredients were the best, especially the water and barley. This meant that the malt he made was of the highest standards and truly stood out against the rest.

It was not unheard of for Jameson to pay well above the market price for his ingredients. But since his product was so good, it meant that he made it all back from sales.

World’s Best Boss

The distillery became one of the biggest enterprises in Dublin and was the second largest distillery in the city at the time.

Jameson was said to have looked after his workers well. He was renowned for paying a decent wage and respecting everyone he employed.

Jameson lived up to his family motto, Sine Metu, meaning Without Fear. The title was granted to his ancestors for fighting off pirates from the Scottish coast.

He knew the effort it would take to tackle the growing amount of distilleries in Ireland at the time but successful fought of the competition through dedication and knowing exactly what makes a top quality malt.

Tags: Irish whiskeyJamesonjohn jamesonScotlandWhiskey
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My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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