As everyone knows, all the new distilleries and Irish whiskey companies around Ireland are currently selling Ex-Cooley stock. This is because it is one of the only mature sources of whiskey available on the open market and as the new distilleries wait for their own stock to mature they have to make some money. Fiscal break even for any whiskey company is approximately 8-10 years its just the nature of the business. Its a tough sell to investors and banks but a bit of an easier sell if you somehow can get to market faster and start to build your distribution and brand whilst you wait for your own stock your ACTUAL product to mature.
I was in a meeting with a U.S. importer a while back and he mentioned to me that there was a lot of the ex-Cooley stock coming onto the market, I’ve heard it said several times since and there seems to be a misconception that there is a flood of this stuff, I wish. The commodity market for mature Irish whiskey is INSANE right now. Its kind of like the whole Dutch Tulip craze of 1637. Getting your hands on ex-Cooley stock takes some serious doing and because of the lack of suppliers negotiating for it is rough, its not like you can just call up four or five other vendors and compare pricing.
I bought as much of the stock as I could get my hands on, which is not a huge amount, and actually won’t be enough to keep us going until our own stock is ready. This keeps me awake most nights, but I’m working on it. I tottled off out to the warehouses where its all stored to individually hand select most of our casks because I’m picky like that.There are 3 warehouses THREE. Not three hundred. Three. Its not all 100% ex-Cooley either, the older casks in particular are a real mish mash, there is some Bushmills stuff in there if you look closely enough. There are sherry butts, ex bourbon casks and all sorts. Its a bit like a sweet shop for any whiskey lover. We found some insane casks that seemed to come from another planet, one in particular blew our minds. I have a special plan for that one. We also found some iffy ones which we rejected. We don’t have the luxury of blending faulty casks out we won’t have enough to do that. What we are going to do is use the stock that we do have to begin expressing our house style. We will play around with it and create something as unique as we can.
I guess the original point of this post is to try to dispel the idea that there is big Cooley Lake. It might feel like that at the moment, only because there are more whiskies on the market and the category is expanding rapidly. Lets put this into perspective, Jameson sold 3.9 million cases last year thats 35 Million liters of whiskey in ONE YEAR. You ain’t gonna fit the supply for that that into 3 warehouses.