Right! Big week last week for us. We had our AGM, which was all our directors in town from the U.S.A. and UK. We had Minister Pat Breen on site, the local head of the County Council and some friends and neighbours around to formally welcome our whiskey. Our first little event. You can see Eric Flynn’s write up on that here.
Prior to the party we were up at GND where we make our new fill for a tour with the Big Man John Teeling and a taste of some new offerings from Allan Anderson SIGN ME UP FOR THAT POT STILL AND PEATED MALT… Then we went on to Teeling in Dublin to see what a KICK-ASS modern Irish distillery & retail offering looks like. I have to say, as a standard for a modern Irish distillery experience Teeling have everything bang on. The tour is lively and informative, the interiors are evocative and reflective of where our industry is going, its respectful to the past. My only criticism is that the historic narrative focuses on the Dublin Distilleries when in reality, there was just as much going on beyond the pale (outside Dublin). This is coming from an Irish Country girl otherwise known as a ‘Culchie’. However, it was and still is that those in Dublin, the JACKEENS, forgot about the rest of us down the country. Anyway back to the positives, the retail experience is phenomenal and in general its awesome and yes I want one ( a kick-ass distillery that is.)
Whilst up in Dublin I squeezed in a visit with Bord Bia who have seriously ramped up their support services since I was there last about 18 months ago.These guys really get it when it comes to Irish Whiskey, which is great as it was also not always thus. They send a trade mission of sorts every year to various USA drinks trade conferences. One in particular is the WSWA, essentially a big meeting of the increasingly consolidated distributor network across the United States. I went once about 15 years ago and back then I was in a suite talking to people about Champagne that we had already sold, it was not a tough gig we had a huge budget and mostly we went to dinner and drank rare vintage Champagne as I recall. This time I’ll be there as part of the Bord Bia stand all alone trying to drum up interest in our J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey. No big expense account this time round….Oh how the mighty have fallen….
I am however FAR more excited about attending this time than in the past. I am not expecting this conference to be the answer to my distribution and sales needs, that is going to happen outside of the conference through hard work. Rather WSWA in April will solidify our entry into the U.S. market on a legal level if nothing else. The deadline for submission of labels for TTB (Alcohol & Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau) approval is today, so I have had to rejigger our labels properly to ensure they are in line with US requirements. Without that approval I cannot bring samples to the conference in April. The TTB is the government body that regulates labelling on drinks in the U.S.A. Another job out of the way and another step closer to exporting. So when I do land in APRIL to the conference and someone wants to order a cask or a pallet I can tell them “Why YES! we do have TTB approval.” I’ll be spending most of April in the U.S. on pre-sales and finalising an importer the conference allows me to get on the ground, make some contacts and see whats what in the mad and fast evolving world of U.S. distributors. It has changed a lot since I worked in the U.S.
So, if you or someone you know wants to sell J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey in their store, bar or simply wishes to distribute it, or if you are going to be at WSWA in Orlando. Let me know! I’ll be all alone in a booth on the main floor in Orlando, we can grab a coffee or Irish Coffee later int he evening and talk Whiskey Bonding. Otherwise I’ll be doing the rounds most of April in the contiguous United States.