When it comes to the most famous Scotch whiskey, everyone immediately remembers Johnnie Walker. Well, if we talk about Irish whiskey, then the palm belongs to Jameson.
History of Jameson Whiskey
This brand has a glorious and long history that began in 1780 with the emergence of the Bow Street Distillery, owned by the Stein family. It was one of the many enterprises in Dublin, and the capital of Ireland itself was in those years the center of world production of whiskey, the second most popular alcoholic beverage after rum. In 1795, about 3.7 million gallons were produced annually, which at that time was an impressive figure.
And in 1786, a seemingly insignificant event takes place - John Jameson becomes the manager of the distillery. Interestingly, he was a Scot by origin, but it was he who was destined to change the very concept of Irish whiskey. Jameson firmly settled in a new place and by 1805 managed to become the sole owner of the business. In 1810 the name of the distillery was changed to The John Jameson & Sons Irish Whiskey Company or simply Jameson's Irish Whiskey.
The competition was very tough, but this did not prevent the company from gradually becoming one of the largest in Ireland, and then throughout the world. The 19th century was the heyday of the Irish whiskey market in general and Jameson in particular. It was believed that this drink was better than scotch by all criteria, which ensured its high popularity in England and overseas. The company produced up to 1 million gallons of whiskey annually. The Jameson brand has become one of the most famous and respected brands of spirits. Among his admirers were many celebrities of that time.
It seemed like Jameson's sales growth would go on forever. But by the middle of the 19th century, the blending process was invented, which made it possible to significantly reduce the cost and speed up the production of whiskey. The first mass producer of blended whiskey was Andrew Usher (Andrew Usher) from Edinburgh, who owned Usher's Old Vatted Glenlivet. Other Scottish distilleries followed suit.
Irish producers at first did not take blended whiskey seriously, believing that it was simply impossible to call such a drink otherwise than a fake. There was even a trial, the purpose of which was a ban on "blending", which did not lead to anything. And the market dictated its own laws - blended whiskey was more affordable, besides, it was to the taste of many consumers who considered it softer. Jameson's revenue began to plummet. The modernization of production and the refusal to expand it made it possible to partially improve the situation, although it was still very difficult to compete with blended whiskey.
But the real problems came at the beginning of the 20th century. First the First World War, then in 1919 the Irish War of Independence began, which lasted until 1921. Then, in 1922, when Ireland declared its independence, a trade war broke out with England. This led to an increase in duties, which had an extremely negative impact on Irish whiskey sales. Then came another blow - "Prohibition" in the United States, which was in effect until 1933 and cut off Jameson from one of the largest markets. And the outbreak of World War II in 1939 led to a catastrophic shortage of grain and the collapse of hundreds of Irish distilleries.
Only the largest survived. By that time they had lost foreign markets and were kept only at the expense of admirers in Ireland itself. In order to slightly improve the situation, in 1966 the largest producers of Irish whiskey - John Jameson & Son, Cork Distilleries Company and John Power & Son - merged into one company called Irish Distillers Ltd. This made it possible to survive and preserve the traditions of production, but no one even dreamed of the previous positions.
In 1988, Irish Distillers Ltd was forced to join the French company Pernod Ricard, engaged in the production and distribution of alcohol. This turned out to be the right move to not only revive the Jameson brand, but once again make it one of the most popular whiskey brands in the world. On sale you can find many of its variations, differing in duration of exposure, taste and cost. Whiskey Jameson has repeatedly received various prestigious awards and the proud title of "Best Irish Whiskey".
As of 2018, Irish whiskey sales accounted for just 3% of total alcoholic beverage sales. But his popularity continues to grow, and there is hope that he will be able to regain his former power. Especially against the background of the fact that this drink is becoming very popular in the United States.