The Irish Whiskey Association Launches Inaugural IWA Chairman’s Awards

By Donna Ahern
The Irish Whiskey Association Launches Inaugural IWA Chairman’s Awards

The Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) has launched the inaugural IWA Chairman’s Awards.

The IWA Chairman’s Awards, established by IWA Chairman and Bushmills' Master Distiller Colum Egan, are set to take place biennially.

“We hope that through these awards, we can shine a spotlight on everyone who makes a significant contribution to the industry, be that through product or process innovation, market growth or even strategic partnerships with other industries globally or domestically,” said Egan.

Annually the awards will ‘recognise the people, distilleries and industry partners that have made an outstanding contribution to the development of the Irish whiskey industry and category, the representative body for the Irish whiskey industry said in a statement.

Six Award Winners


This year’s six awards were presented to recipients that the IWA said were pivotal in kick-starting the Irish whiskey renaissance in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

The winners include Richard Burrows, former CEO of Irish Distillers; John Chamney, former Export Director of Tullamore D.E.W., currently Director of Walsh Whiskey Company; Barry Crockett, former Master Distiller at Midelton Distillery, Irish Distiller; Gill Jefferson, former Managing Director of Bushmills Distillery; Willie McCarter, former Executive Director of Cooley Distillery and John Teeling, founder of Cooley Distillery, currently Executive Chairman of Great Northern Distillery.

Winners Comments 

Commenting on the receipt of his IWA Chairman’s Award, John Teeling, said: “To see an idea that one had in the 1970’s turning into a rapidly growing industry is very satisfying. The renaissance of Irish whiskey is only on the first lap.”

Also receiving an IWA Chairman’s Award, John Chamney commented: “When I started working in the industry in 1972, Irish whiskey was near extinction. My career has followed the steady rise of the Irish spirits Industry. First, the innovation and global success of Irish cream liqueurs, coupled with the building of Midleton’s globally unique distillery.


“This was followed by the unrelenting development of Irish whiskey, liqueurs and gin over the last 30 years, resulting in today’s position of almost limitless future potential. It has been an exciting life and journey to restore our strong historic global leadership position.”

Exponential Growth

According to the IWA Irish whiskey has experienced exponential growth from two distilleries in the early 1980’s, to over 20 by the end of this year. Irish whiskey is the world’s fastest-growing spirit category with ambitious targets set for further growth in markets worldwide.

It is expected that over 10.5 million cases of Irish whiskey will be sold internationally in 2018 compared with under 500,000 cases in the early 1980s. The industry is on track to exceed growth targets of 12 million cases by 2020, with sights set on reaching 24 million cases by 2030.

© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition. 

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