Newry-based Two Stacks Irish Whiskey has won a string of export orders that will extend the global reach of one of Ireland’s most innovative producers of the golden spirit.
The company, which specialises in the blending and bonding of unique Irish whiskeys, now among the most dynamic industrial sectors here, has clinched new business in the US, Sweden and in key markets in the Middle East.
In addition to its continuing achievements in exports, the independent producer of premium whiskey has just launched the first-ever single malt whiskey Dram in a Can. The new canned malt follows the hugely successful Dram in a Can original Irish whiskey.
Two Stacks has won widespread acclaim and awards for innovation for the original Dram in a Can, the world’s first 43% canned whiskey with the company’s Irish whiskey sourced from distilleries across Ireland especially Killowen Distillery in the Mournes.
Dram in a Can was launched across Europe in June through a network of select distributors. The new single malt version, now in production at the company’s canning facility in Newry, is also set for launch soon in Canada and Europe. The distinctively branded cans are also now available at the duty free shops in Dublin and Cork airports, according to managing director Shane McCarthy.
“We spent much of this year developing a new bespoke unit in Newry to service Dram in a Can. This, the first of facility of its kind in Europe, will help service the large demand for the whiskey,” continues Shane, one of the founders of Two Stacks, along with Liam Brogan and Donal McLynn.
“We aim to offer access to premium Irish whiskey in smaller quantities - allowing more experimentation and sharing. Two Stacks Irish Whiskey has ambitions to become a globally recognised independent bonder, blender and bottler of the most innovative whiskey creations, both in terms of liquid and packaging.
“In an age of increasing automation in the drinks industry, Two Stacks relies on traditional techniques that have earmarked high-quality whiskey distilling for more than 100 years, from determining timing through taste and nose while in cask to manually disgorging casks and hand labelling each bottle.
“Independent bonding, blending, and bottling is a dying art in Irish whiskey. Where once many towns and cities across Ireland had merchants, grocers, and public houses developing their own unique expression of bonded and bottled whiskey very few now have. The craft of whiskey bonding and blending in Ireland disappeared as the artisan industry declined throughout the 20th century but we aim to revive this tradition and showcase how uniquely brilliant Irish whiskey can be through our blends, finishes and cask strength offerings.”
The three partners founded the business in 2014 on the back of their success with Irish Craft Beverages, a small export marketing operation in Belfast.
Shane continues: “The latest export deals will see Two Stacks single malt on sale in more than 100 licensed alcohol outlets in Sweden from the start of September. Sales of spirits there is regulated by Systembolaget, the national off-licence chain. The first containers have also just landed in the Middle East for supply into Qatar, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Muscat in Oman. The range of whiskeys will be available in duty free shops as well as domestically across the region - just ahead of the FIFA soccer World Cup in Oman 2022.”
The new business comes as Two Stacks completes the development of a bonded warehouse and processing operation in Newry – the first in the city in over a century.
Blending the very best of contemporary Irish flavour with real distilling heritage has positioned Two Stacks at the forefront of Ireland’s whiskey revival. The small company has become a leading innovator of products and marketing techniques in the whiskey industry which is making a substantial to the local economy especially in terms of original expressions of the historic spirit and international sales.
Shane and his colleagues have a close business relationship with Brendan Carty, founder of Killowen Distillery, which recently launched its Irish whiskeys on the vast US marketplace. Killowen’s small batch Irish whiskeys, all cask strength, are now being imported to the US by High Road Spirits of Chicago, a leading importer of quality international spirits to many states, and online via California’s Folsom Wines and Spirits.
Two Stacks has, furthermore, already won praise from within the industry for its commitment to ensure every premium whiskey released is different to the one before.
“Each hand-crafted expression is carefully sourced, managed, finished, blended or matured from different locations across Ireland,” explains Shane.