What’s The Craic?
“What’s The Craic”, pronounced “What’s The Crack” is a predominately Irish saying that means “What’s Happening?” — Staying with that theme, this page is dedicated to showing both newcomers and diehards what’s happening in Irish Whiskey.
So everyone’s talking about Irish whiskey. There’s new bottles no-one’s heard of and cocktail bars are rushing to fill their menus with Irish spirit but is it just a hip fad or is there really something that makes Irish whiskey special.
The simple answer is yes. There’s a lot in fact and we’ll start chronologically.
Irish whiskey goes waaaay back. To 1404 in fact when a Gaelic chieftain passed away after having over-indulged in the aqua vitae, which for him became aqua mortis (that joke was actually by the original chronicler but we’d be happy to claim it).
The quality improved hugely over time and by the 19th century it was the biggest whiskey in the world, with 88 distilleries shipping casks of joy to all corners of the world. It then ran into a hurdle or seven, which we explore in our three-part history blog, and ended up out of the race and long-forgotten by the world.
Fortunately, time out of the spotlight fortified Ireland’s spirit and it has now come roaring back and from producing 2.5 million cases in 1971 it is on course to be pumping out 25 million by 2025.
With this resurgence has come the reincarnation of tastes and famous distilleries. Though Bushmills has a claim to being the oldest distillery in the world, from 1608, another, Kilbeggan has been going since 1757 (with a relatively brief interlude) while Jameson has been going sine metu since 1780.
This has allowed Irish whiskey distillers to gain a deep understanding of how whiskey exists in a different time continuum to mere mortals. They don’t rush things even if they may never see the results in their own lifetime.
It’s no exaggeration to say that this history and heritage is one part of the broader reason that sets Irish whiskey apart from the rest of the world.