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Luminaries of Ireland’s whiskey industry being honoured at Chairman’s Awards gala


As John Quinn’s role as Chairman of the Irish Whiskey Association draws to an end, the biennial Chairman’s Awards took place last night (17th November) celebrating those that have made a significant contribution to the Irish whiskey industry. Only one week on from the Irish Whiskey Awards, this was another opportunity for members of the Irish whiskey industry to gather and honour the contribution by those who have helped Irish whiskey achieve the success and status that it has achieved.

This year’s event took the form of a fabulous gala dinner in the prestigious Westin Hotel in Dublin and was attended by members of the Irish Whiskey Association, members of the trade, past recipients of the awards, and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, TD.

The event was introduced by Head of the Irish Whiskey Association, William Lavelle, and hosted by outgoing chairman, John Quinn. John is a veteran of forty years in the industry and retired Global Brand Ambassador for Tullamore D.E.W. John’s integrity, professionalism and wonderful sense of homour have garnered the admiration and respect among his peers and the public at large. Throughout his chairmanship he has driven positive change within the sector, succeeding in the challenges of Covid and Brexit. We thank him for his fabulous contribution and wish him every success in his semi-retirement.


John Quinn

John Quinn, outgoing Chairman of Irish Whiskey Association


Press release

Eight Irish whiskey industry figures who have made outstanding contributions to the sector were recognised at the Irish Whiskey Association’s Chairman’s Awards ceremony, which took place yesterday evening (17.11.22) at the Westin Hotel in Dublin.

The Chairman’s Awards take place biennially and were awarded this year by the Association’s outgoing Chairman John Quinn, Global Brand Ambassador with Tullamore D.E.W. The event brings together people, distilleries and industry partners from the Irish whiskey sector.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, TD, were among the guests in attendance to honour the awardees.

Mr Quinn, said:

“The Chairman’s Awards is a key occasion in the life of our industry. Every two years we get an opportunity to recognise the outstanding contribution made by individuals who have blazed a trail for the Irish whiskey industry. This year, as one of my last acts as Chair of the Irish Whiskey Association, I am privileged to honour our latest awardees.

“The awards are a wonderful opportunity to salute key individuals from across the industry; people from the past and present whose impact on the global success of the Irish whiskey category has been huge for many reasons, but whose enormous contributions will stand the test of time for long into the future.”

The Chairman’s Awards 2022 awardees are:

  • Ally Alpine, Managing Director of Celtic Whiskey: Ally founded the Celtic Whiskey Shop in Dublin in 2003, the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder in Killarney in the same year, and the Irish Whiskey Awards in 2014.
  • Colum Egan, Site Director at Bushmills Distillery and Master Distiller since 2002: In September this year, Colum celebrated 25 years in the Irish whiskey industry. He is a former Chairman of the Irish Whiskey Association.
  • Hugh Gaynor, Operations & Facilities Manager, Kilbeggan Distillery: Hugh’s family has been connected to the Kilbeggan Distillery in one way or another for generations. Since production recommenced in 2007, Hugh has served as Operations and Facilities Manager, responsible for managing all distilling.
  • Brendan Monks, former Master of Maturation and Operations Manager at Midleton Distillery: Brendan played a lead role in the development of the use of Iberian oak in Irish whiskey maturation until his retirement from Irish Distillers in 2007.
  • Jayne Murphy, Marketing Director of Malts, Chivas Brothers: Jayne joined Irish Distillers in 2005 and played a leading role in the development of the company’s Prestige Irish Whiskey portfolio, before heading up the global Jameson innovation team.
  • Bernard Walsh, Managing Director of Walsh Whiskey: having founded the company in 1999, Bernard developed the successful Writer’s Tears and The Irishman brands. He is a former Chairman of the Irish Whiskey Association.

In addition, two posthumous awards were awarded to:

  • Frank O’Reilly, joint Managing Director of John Powers & Son: Frank was a member of the Powers family and he played a leading role in the establishment of Irish Distillers, serving as its first Chairman until 1983.
  • John Clement Ryan: John Clement was a member of the Powers family. He joined Irish Distillers in 1969 and played a leading role in the development and marketing activities of the company until his retirement in 1996.


The Irish Whiskey Association Chairman’s Award 2022 was kindly sponsored by the following companies:

  • CJ Sheeran: Over the past 25 years, CJ Sheeran has grown to be Ireland’s largest manufacturer of timber packaging and pallets. Visit www.cjs.ie.
  • Moyvore Whiskey Vault: This newly planned, multimillion euro, state-of-the-art whiskey maturation, filling and disgorging facility is located in the centre of Ireland. Visit www.moyvorewhiskeyvault.com.
  • The Watershed Group: The Watershed Group is a print partner to many of Ireland’s leading companies, big and small, particularly in the food and drinks sector. Visit www.watershedgroup.com.
  • Philip Lee: One of Ireland’s leading corporate and commercial law firms, with over 35 years’ industry experience, Philip Lee advises some of the most established Irish whiskey brands and new entrants. Visit www.philiplee.ie.



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