Limavady Irish whiskey wins gong at global spirits awards

Limavady Single Barrel Irish Whiskey has been acclaimed as “excellent and highly recommended” in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, one of the world’s most important competitions in international spirits, writes Sam Butler.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 4th July 2022, 3:35 pm
Daryll McNally of Limavady Single Cask Whiskey
Daryll McNally of Limavady Single Cask Whiskey

The unique whiskey has been developed by master distiller Darryl McNally who grew up in Limavady and learned about distilling at Old Bushmills, and has also won at the Whiskies of the World Awards, a worldwide whisky competition produced in conjunction with the IWSC (International Wine and Spirits Competition), the most prestigious, largest, and longest running spirits competition in the world.

The whiskey is growing substantially in export markets, especially the US, the world’s single most important for Irish whiskey, influenced also by the extensive time spent by Darryl there travelling across many states.

Darryl says: “This is another tremendous endorsement of the quality and taste of our unique single cask whiskey which can be traced back to the 18th century.”

Limavady is 100% Irish barley, small batch, triple distilled in copper pot stills, aged in bourbon barrels and finished in PX sherry casks, producing 846 bottles per barrel.

The spirit won acclaim for its Single Barrel Single Malt Irish Whiskey developed in conjunction with WhistlePig, US whisky, a longstanding US distillery, which now owns the successful Northern Ireland whiskey.

Ultimate Spirits Challenge’s mission is to create and establish a new and higher standard of evaluation for spirits that provides accurate, meaningful and useful results in recognising and promoting the quality of beverage alcohol products. It accomplishes this by the integrity of its people and approach, its innovative and exacting methodology, and through the credibility of its results.

Integrity is the cornerstone of Ultimate Spirits Challenge. Winning hard-won accolades and relevant scores awarded by the most respected and experienced authorities in the industry translate into benefits of marketing opportunities for producers, importers and marketers and confidence from buyers and consumers that the results achieved are accurate and reliable.

Medal recipients receive a free marketing toolkit to help promote their achievement(s). Whiskies of the World judges represent a range of industry experts including well respected spirits evaluators, brand ambassadors, whisky retailers, bartenders, and mixologists, ensuring the greatest objectivity of results.

Awarded brands are promoted to more than 16,000 whisky enthusiasts, and key members of trade via its extensive social media channels.

Darryl’s latest success comes as another independent whiskey distillery is announced here. Glens of Antrim Distillery, the latest business development by the McKillopp family behind Glens of Antrim Potatoes, Glens of Antrim Crisps and Shindig Crisps in Cushendall since 1972. The company has already launched the Lir range of premium Irish whiskeys.

Irish whiskey is officially the fastest growing spirits category in the world over the past decade, with 140% growth in sales from 2010-20. More than 12 million casks are being exported from distilleries across the island of Ireland.

Bushmills remains the biggest local seller, particularly in the US, where The Sexton, also distilled in Bushmills, is the biggest selling Irish single malt in the US. Other local whiskeys such as Dunville, Hinch, Shortcross, Two Stacks and Killowen are experiencing significant growth in exports.

As a result of the tremendous enterprise and innovation of companies, distilling, especially whiskey, is fast becoming one of Northern Ireland’s fastest growing export industries. Dram in a Can, produced in Newry by Two Stacks, has won international acclaim as the only Irish whiskey in a can.

A Co Antrim businessman, furthermore, has also launched his own whiskey and has revived a renowned Ballymena brand dating back to the late 1800s.

Vincent Hurl, owner of the historic and hugely popular thatched Crosskey Inn, located between Portglenone and Toome, created a Crosskey’s whiskey on the back of tourism interest in his 17th century pub. He is now trademarking the once thriving James McAllister and Son’s Old Irish Whiskey from Ballymena.

The industry’s success will be celebrated and showcased during the fourth annual Belfast Whiskey Week (July 22-30).