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Episode 9. Louise McGuane: Reimagining Irish Whiskey Traditions

The Remarkable Podcast

“I have a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of the resurgence of a hugely heritage-driven industry and am proud to be part of the new guard that will define what the next 400 years of Irish Whiskey will look like”

Growing up in a small town on the West coast of Ireland, Louise McGuane was raised with a deep respect for her Irish roots and a passion for chasing new opportunities. After working internationally for many years, her evolution from small-town farm girl to Irish Whiskey pioneer came full circle when she returned home with a new-found commitment to elevating Irish Whiskey on the global stage.

After finishing a degree in Philosophy and spending time in Boston, Massachusetts, Louise moved to New York City to work in marketing and communications at a global Champagne company. Here, she learned the complexities of the drinks industry and built a career that took her as far as Singapore and Mexico. These experiences not only helped her become well-versed in the industry but reconnected her to her love for her Irish heritage.

Louise returned to Ireland for a summer to research the global significance of Irish Whiskey and discovered the prominent role it had in her country’s history. And despite the majority of Irish Whiskey distilleries being owned by multi-nationals who weren’t open to becoming involved, Louise met John Teeling – a prominent figure in the industry – who had stock he was willing to sell to her. Louise took these and invested them into various whiskies, rather than distilleries, and began trading with ‘the small guys’ on the Irish Whiskey scene.

With a vast collection of whiskey now in her possession, Louise began thinking about how she could turn these liquids into new creations. Inspired by JJ Corry – an Irish Whiskey bonder from the 1800s that she found during her research and after whom her company is named – she sought to develop new ways to create remarkable spirits. Determined to do this without a third-party bonder, Louise travelled to wineries, distilleries and bodegas far-and-wide to seek out an array of liquids that could create a library of unique flavours.

Today, JJ Corry is renowned in the Irish Whiskey category, and has partnered with The Last Drop Distillers to create The Last Drop’s first-ever Irish Whiskey, Release No. 32: A 32 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey – a landmark moment for the business. Working alongside The Last Drops’ Managing Director Rebecca Jago, and Master Blender Helen Mulholland, Louise has made good on her mission to elevate the perception of Irish Whiskey on the world stage and prove it is worthy of the treasure-seeking status.

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