Exciting US deal enables Darryl to revive historic Limavady Whiskey

Limavady-based master whiskey distiller Darryl McNally is collaborating with a major US distillery to realise his long-held dream of creating the world’s first single barrel Irish whiskey.

By Sam Butler
Monday, 2nd August 2021, 6:00 am
Master distiller Darryl McNally
Master distiller Darryl McNally

Limavady-based master whiskey distiller Darryl McNally is collaborating with a major US distillery to realise his long-held dream of creating the world’s first single barrel Irish whiskey.

WhistlePig in Vermont, a leader in award-winning American rye whiskeys, has linked up with Darryl (46) to revive the historic Limavady Irish whiskey brand which dates back to 1750 and was distilled on part of what is now his family’s successful sheep and cattle farm at Myroe in Co Londonderry.

Darryl brings to the Limavady project vast experience over 23 years in the global whiskey business that includes 17 years as a distiller at Old Bushmills in Co. Antrim. He is also a descendant of the Limavady distillery’s 18th century owners.

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Darryl subsequently spearheaded whiskey developments in the Republic during his time with Quintessential Brands that included the construction of distilleries and the launch of new brands. He has crafted over a dozen internationally awarded whiskeys, winning numerous gold medals for his employers.

The collaboration will see WhistlePig managing bottling and distribution of the revived Limavady brand under Darryl’s direction. “This will help Limavady establish the single barrel Irish category, much the same success WhistlePig has achieved with aged and experimental rye,” Darryl explains. “It’s an immensely important and exciting development for the new Limavady whiskey which I’ve been determined to revive for many years. I will directly manage the production and innovation and will bring the Limavady story and spirit to life,” he adds. There are no immediate plans to build a new distillery at Limavady.

Jeff Kozak, WhistlePig’s chief executive, continues: “We originally met Darryl at an industry event and stayed in touch.

“When we understood his desire to reimagine the Irish whiskey category and learned of his plans to revive Limavady, we jumped at the opportunity to partner with him.”

Jeff and his team visited the historic distillery grounds on the family farm. “While the brand draws its inspiration from the past, we are looking to the future of Limavady as Darryl takes Irish whiskey to the next level,” Jeff says.

Both WhistlePig and Limavady, he explains, “are super premium craft whiskeys that push the boundaries of what their respective categories are defined by”.

“WhistlePig led rye in maturation and farm-to-bottle distilling, while Limavady will epitomize single barrel Irish single malt.

“We believe Irish whiskey is a category that needs to stretch and break through stereotypes established by industry giants. We also feel Irish single malt, and moreover single barrel, deserves the same recognition as both single malt scotch and craft American whiskey,” adds Jeff.

Darryl continues: “Reclaiming the Limavady whiskey brand has been a long-held dream of mine. Finally bringing it to market is already a huge leap for me but teaming up with a visionary company like WhistlePig to do so makes it even more exciting.

“Forward-thinking and not afraid to push the boundaries of innovation, WhistlePig is the perfect match for Limavady, and I couldn’t wish for a better partner in taking Irish whiskey to new heights,” he adds.

Father of two, Darryl, who is based on the family farm, has finished an initial batch of Limavady whiskey in classic Pedro Jiménez barrels and expects that WhistlePig will begin selling the unique spirit in select markets throughout the US and UK later this year.

“Distilling and marketing Irish whiskey has never just been a job for me, it’s my passion,” Darryl says. “Being able to bring that to life through a timeless brand like Limavady, from the place where I was born and raised, makes me feel incredibly fortunate. It’s a source of immense pride to be able to carry on the Limavady name and make our stamp on the industry, introducing an exceptional Irish whiskey to the global market.”

Darryl is convinced that the current Irish whiskey renaissance especially in North America is set to continue - and spread worldwide.

“Only now are we almost back to where we rightfully belong in terms of volume and profile since the early years of the 20th century, and I believe the best is yet to come. I’m beyond excited for Limavady to play a role in the continued growth of Irish whiskey,” he adds.

Founded in 2007, WhistlePig is the number one distiller in the ultra-premium and luxury rye whiskey category in North America, featuring the bold flavour of rye.

As the most decorated rye whiskey – having received the coveted ‘Best in Show Whiskey’ title from the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, WhistlePig is widely viewed as the world’s finest rye. With the opening of its distillery on its 500-acre Vermont farm in the fall of 2015, WhistlePig has also become one of the leading farm-to-bottle rye whiskeys in the world. It now aims to help Darryl to develop Limavady as a major global enterprise.

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