Irish Whiskey Association Introduces Mentoring Program

The Irish Whiskey Association is trying to keep up its industry’s growth with a mentorship program that will support new distilleries.

To encourage continued industry growth, the Irish Whiskey Association is helping emerging distillers break into the market with a new mentoring program.

IWA will match established distilling companies like Irish Distillers and Bushmills with smaller distillers to allow for information sharing and guidance in the production of high-quality whiskey.

“This is a unique program which will see industry leaders support new market entrants. It also showcases the collegiality amongst industry and members of the Irish Whiskey Association,” Head of IWA Miriam Mooney said in a press release. “The mentor companies will share information, expertise, and knowledge with new entrants enabling them to plan and succeed in the Irish whiskey business whilst at the same time upholding the integrity and quality that has underpinned Irish whiskey’s global renaissance.”

Large and small companies will be paired up as mentoring partners with the purpose of providing the new entrants with support in “distillery planning, design, construction, and commissioning.” The program will also include informative workshops with experts covering whiskey production, route to market, branding, and licensing, as well as production workshops to help the small distilleries meet quality standards. In addition, the distilleries will receive business-planning support through a new online portal.

“The Irish whiskey industry is at a pivotal moment in its history. We know that there is huge consumer appetite for our brands globally, we only have to look across the water to Scotland with 108 distilleries in operation to see what’s possible,” IWA Chairman and CEO of Walsh Whiskey Distillery Bernard Walsh said in a statement.

He continued: “This initiative is very welcome and the mentor companies are to be applauded for investing their expertise in new projects to ensure high standards are maintained. For the industry to grow and compete internationally with scotch and bourbon brands we cannot compromise on quality. The advice and support of industry experts is invaluable in helping companies navigate what can be difficult and complex issues.”

During the last decade, the Irish whiskey industry has grown by 200 percent, and IWA’s structured mentoring program will help maintain that rate of growth by facilitating new distilleries’ entrance into the market while also meeting the industry’s quality standards.

“As the Irish whiskey category continues its growth at pace, innovation will be key to realizing the full potential of Irish whiskey on the world stage. The mentoring partnership is mutually beneficial, with new entrants bringing new brands and stories to the global market, and established companies imparting the legacy and traditions of our founders as well as their approaches to innovation,” Technical Director at Irish Distillers David Quinn said in the release. “At Irish Distillers, we have already seen incredible results, working with distilleries such as Walsh Whiskey Distillery. We look forward to growing our relationships with other emerging companies and continuing on our journey of nurturing the Irish whiskey renaissance globally.”


Alex Beall

By Alex Beall

Alex Beall is an associate editor for Associations Now with a masters in journalism and a penchant for Instagram. MORE

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