This is part one in a three part series looking at Teeling Whiskey in depth, parts two and three will be going live on GreatDrams over the coming weeks.
Back track to the Whisky & Spirits Conference in March 2015 and I was in the audience when Jack Teeling proclaimed
“[We are] in the middle of a new golden era for Irish whiskey, the category has to evolve and can only do that with new distillers and independent bottlers.”
Also within his presentation was a curious and powerful note:
“Teeling is the fastest growing premium brown spirit in the last ten years”.
Impressive, sure, but what was all the fuss about?
Well, given that all of the Teeling whiskey growth has been from mature markets where Scotch brands had been shoring up their volumes but not necessarily focussing on, opting for more new world markets where growth percentages would be in the hundreds or thousands, this is a powerful statement of intent. In the short term at least.
80 million people globally claim to have Irish heritage but, after all, everyone is Irish one day a year, aren’t they?
Their founding statement of intent has been clear for all to see and in Jack Teeling’s words:
We have focused on pushing things forward, taking a product to market as soon as possible to grab shelf space and get people to discover something special”
But one of the main sources of their success, as I see it, is Jack and Stephen Teeling themselves.
They are probably amongst the best in class brand ambassadors out there; they exude excitement for their brand, their product, Irish whiskey in general and what they are doing, all whilst being personable, fun and infectious with their desire for you to enjoy their very own Teeling whiskey.
And whilst you may think that should be a given, it isn’t.
Distillers and blenders are often chemists by training or have worked their way up and often won’t be the most engaging of folk, which is why bigger brands have to buy in ambassador ‘talent’, such as the awesome Mark Thompson of Glenfiddich, to go out and engage with the whiskey world at large.
Couple that with the fact that the Teeling whiskey operation is family owned, independent and proudly ‘craft’ whereas there has been no other independent producer for decades in the Irish whiskey market, and yes they have hired additional ambassadors but their passion and personalities are driving this brand forward.
No other independent Irish producer of whiskey? Yep.
It also helps to have a lot of stock from their old Cooley days, but anyone can hold stock, it is turning that into a global brand and premiumising their brand and product which takes talent and skill; something the Teeling whiskey chaps have in abundance.
In the next part of this three part series I will talk you through the distillery itself.