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Busting Myths One Pour At a Time: The New York Irish Whiskey Pageant Returns After Two-12 months Hiatus

Amongst North American audiences, Irish whiskey is poised for a second within the solar. The fast-growing class’s U.S. gross sales had been up over 16% in 2021, and by some estimates, the spirit might overtake Scotch’s stateside footprint throughout the subsequent decade. As with most boozy tendencies, occasion organizers have taken be aware, their progress solely quickly slowed by COVID-related delays.

In 2019, Moira Breslin based The New York Irish Whiskey Pageant to provide Irish whiskey a foothold within the metropolis’s ultra-competitive dwell occasions area. The inaugural occasion — showcasing each massive and craft manufacturers — befell in November 2019 and was billed as America’s first Irish whiskey competition. That occasion attracted 25 presenting manufacturers and a high-profile partnership with The Useless Rabbit, considered one of NYC’s most esteemed and awarded watering holes.

Quick ahead greater than two years later, and the Pageant’s second version returned to Decrease Manhattan’s waterfront on Saturday, March 12, 2022. Drinkhacker was in attendance on the max-capacity occasion, sampling an expanded lineup of drams, together with Irish-inspired appetizers, dwell music, and even a pop-up barbershop.

Shortly after, we caught up with Breslin and The Useless Rabbit house owners/founders Sean Muldoon & Jack McGarry to speak about Irish whiskey’s development, busting myths surrounding the spirit, and what the longer term spells for Irish whiskey followers in the US and past.

Be aware: The interviews under seem in two elements. These interviews have been flippantly edited for readability.

Moira Breslin

Drinkhacker: Inform us a bit about how The New York Irish Whiskey Pageant first happened. Did any particular occasions, festivals, or spirits gatherings initially encourage you? 

Moira Breslin: The Irish whiskey class is presently experiencing double-digit development, with gross sales lately reaching an all-time excessive in 2021. But there was no particular second devoted to celebrating this particular class till The New York Irish Whiskey Pageant. We had been impressed by the immersive bourbon festivals taking up New York, however there was nothing fairly like this for the Irish whiskey class. We needed to draw millennial cocktail fanatics seeking to discover the rising class and Irish tradition in a vigorous, modern environment.

Drinkhacker: How was planning for this yr’s competition impacted by COVID? 

Moira Breslin: After our two-year hiatus because of the pandemic, we really feel extraordinarily grateful we had been in a position to conduct this yr’s competition. We labored intently with town and the manufacturers to make sure we had been following really useful authorities pointers and rules so we might in the end host an occasion that was secure and arranged.

Drinkhacker: How did you supply model companions? 

Moira Breslin: Our companions in The New York Irish Whiskey Pageant are Irish whiskey specialists, Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry of the [award-winning bar] The Useless Rabbit. With The Useless Rabbit institution sustaining considered one of (if not the most important) collections of Irish whiskey, completely different manufacturers throughout the class had been naturally within the alternative to take part.

Drinkhacker: How did your private love of Irish whiskey start?

Moira Breslin: Born in Eire, I affiliate Irish whiskey with good individuals and good occasions! It’s extremely thrilling to see the expansion within the class within the U.S. and the regular circulation of innovation popping out of this.

Drinkhacker: For these simply beginning their exploration of Irish whiskey as a class, what are some useful suggestions or issues to bear in mind? 

Moira Breslin: There are such a lot of superb Irish whiskey manufacturers in the marketplace and every has one thing distinctive to supply. From manufacturers like Bushmills which continues to dominate the only malt class with ongoing annual releases together with most lately their 12-year-old expression, to Redbreast, and Knappogue Citadel to distinctive blends from manufacturers like Jameson, Slane, Roe & Co, and plenty of extra – there’s really an Irish whiskey for each degree and style choice.

Drinkhacker: Is Irish whiskey an ignored class in the US? In that case, why? 

Moira Breslin: Irish whiskey is experiencing enormous development within the U.S., however there are nonetheless some misconceptions surrounding the class — whereas there’s at all times extra to be finished by way of consciousness, the truth that it’s set to outpace Scotch in gross sales over the following decade is a large indicator that buyers have gotten extra aware of the class and there’s an urge for food for extra depth and variety in Irish whiskey.

Drinkhacker: What are the most typical misconceptions you hear about Irish whiskey, significantly amongst American drinkers? 

Moira Breslin: As talked about, there are some frequent misconceptions about Irish whiskey, one being that it’s primarily for taking pictures, however it’s so rather more than pickleback pictures… for all the explanations listed above!

Drinkhacker: How would you prefer to see the Pageant change or develop within the coming years? 

Moira Breslin: We’re excited to advance the competition because the class continues to develop and evolve. Subsequent yr we’re excited to implement much more thrilling moments, serve specialty cocktails, host seminars on Irish whiskey, talk about the way forward for the class, and make use of the spectacular outside space for serving heat drinks equivalent to Irish coffees and scorching toddies.


Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry 

Drinkhacker: How did The Useless Rabbit become involved with the New York Irish Whiskey Pageant? 

Muldoon and McGarry: Moira Breslin of Articulate Ventures first approached us to debate the concept of a competition devoted to Irish whiskey. As we shared in her sentiment that the class was significantly underrepresented, we had been instantly thinking about an expertise for shoppers to get to know the Irish whiskey class and in addition debunk among the myths surrounding it.

Drinkhacker: What are the most typical misconceptions you hear about Irish whiskey, significantly amongst American drinkers? 

Muldoon and McGarry: We don’t suppose the common whiskey drinker is essentially conscious that there are completely different types of Irish whiskey – not every thing is a mix! There are single malt, pot nonetheless, grain, and blended classes, and every has its personal distinctive processes and elements.


Drinkhacker: Past yourselves, who’re some impactful influencers and groundbreakers in increasing Irish whiskey’s reputation in the US? 

Muldoon and McGarry: Grasp blenders and grasp distillers from distilleries throughout Eire have had a huge impact on the class and its reputation. Given their hands-on experience, persons are thinking about listening to from them instantly about completely different merchandise and what makes them distinctive.

Drinkhacker: What ought to People be enthusiastic about with regards to the expansion of Irish whiskey? 

Muldoon and McGarry: There’s masses to be enthusiastic about – as house owners of an Irish bar, we’re at all times searching for new and attention-grabbing expressions so as to add to our repertoire of choices for shoppers so the continued innovation popping out of Eire may be very thrilling. Extra selection within the classes simply means extra alternatives and choices for shoppers, which we expect may be very thrilling.

Pictures courtesy Joanna Lin and David Gannon



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