This weekend quite a few shots, glasses and bottles of Jameson Irish Whiskey will be tipped back in the name of St. Patrick (hopefully at a somewhat responsible clip). It's common knowledge that both the drink and the day are intricately woven into the social and economic makeup fabric of Ireland, but did you know that, for a time, Irish whiskey distilleries were as rare around the Emerald Isle as the slithering serpents St. Patrick was said to have banished?
The recent resurgence is about three decades old, though the entire Celtic yarn stretches back 1,000 years or more. I got the nickel tour (which cost about 20 euro) when I visited the Irish Whiskey Museum in Dublin last April, and followed up with my own research (including a fair bit of the practical variety). It's a tale with highs and lows, innovation and regulation, birth and rebirth. And though it takes place in a foreign land and features an intoxicating subject, it should be a familiar one to any lifelong manufacturer.
And hopefully it will give anyone in any dying industry hope that they too will rise again...with a little luck.