If you’re a Dubliner, you know what it means to embrace the spirit of Dublin. At its core, the Spirit of Dublin embodies a spirit of resilience and a confidence to create. But, as a whiskey brand, whose history traces as far back as 1782, embracing the Spirit of Dublin also means something more specific.
The golden age of Irish whiskey started in the 1600s and ran through the 1800s, when Irish whiskey was king. Over 70% of the world’s whiskey was Irish whiskey, and Dublin was at the heart of this growth. On one street in Dublin alone – Thomas Street – distilleries were producing over 100 million bottles of Irish whiskey a year. Innovation drove the category – from the flavour profiles to the distilling techniques that were being introduced. In 1782, Walter Teeling set up a small craft distillery on Marrowbone Lane, Dublin 8 – in an area known as The Liberties. It was called The Liberties because you were basically “at liberty” to do whatever you wanted.
However, as the 1800s ran their course, a perfect storm of misfortune and circumstance hit Ireland, nearly causing Irish whiskey to go extinct and affecting the Irish economy as a whole. At one point, in about an eight year span, Ireland went from producing around 70% of all the world’s whiskey to less than 1%. Fortunately, this isn’t the end of its story though.
The 1960s saw a rise in the interest of Irish whiskey, but production moved to the countryside where there was more room to expand production and grow ingredients on site. Most of these whiskeys adopted a lighter, sweeter style flavour that came to be synonymous with the category. Then, in the 1980s, John Teeling, opened a distillery in the Cooley part of Ireland – the border between North and South – where he reintroduced the spirit of innovation that had once defined the category.
Later, his sons joined him until one day, in 2012, Jack and Stephen Teeling had a chance to start their own distillery. As they set out to do it, they knew two things – one, embracing the original spirit of innovation that elevated Irish whiskey to a world class spirit would drive their brand and two, it was time to bring distilling back to the city centre.
In March 2015, Jack and Stephen opened the doors to the Teeling Whiskey Distillery, the first new distillery in Dublin in over 125 years, a stone’s throw from their ancestral distillery. Creating Irish whiskeys that drive the innovation of the category is the foundation of Teeling Whiskey today, but so is playing a role in the revival of the Irish whiskey as a global leader. It’s what the Celtic Phoenix on every bottle of Teeling represents.
Irish whiskey must spend at least three years in a wooden cask, so our first cask becomes three years old this summer. This cask, our first Single Pot Still, will be the first Irish whiskey produced in Dublin in over 40 years, marking an exciting evolution for the category and a sign of everything to come.