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New upskilling initiative aims to enhance the Irish whiskey experience on offer in Irish hospitality settings


  • 118 staff from Irish pubs, hotels and off-licences engage in new Irish whiskey course
  • Irish whiskey industry funding staff upskilling to support post-lockdown reopening

118 participants, mainly staff from Irish pubs, hotels and off-licences, are this week participating in a new Irish whiskey course as part of a programme by the Irish Whiskey Association aimed at enhancing the knowledge of staff employed in the Irish on-trade regarding Irish whiskey. The course forms part of a broader industry-funded campaign to support post-lockdown reopening, to reposition Irish whiskey more centrally in the reopened on-trade and to enhance the Irish whiskey experience available to the consumer

The course, titled ‘Irish Whiskey in the World of Spirits’, is being delivered by the Irish Whiskey and Spirits Institute. Successful participants will receive a globally-recognised Level 1 award in Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

The course provides an introduction to Irish whiskey within the broader World of Spirits, exploring the main styles and types of spirits, delivering an understanding of the key factors affecting flavours and aromas. The course also covers the history of Irish whiskey, the principles of Irish whiskey production and the Irish whiskey Geographic Indication and legal definitions of Irish whiskey.

The course is being run online and includes a guided tasting of samples of Irish whiskey and other international spirits. The majority of places on the course are being directly sponsored by Irish whiskey brands who are members of the Irish Whiskey Association. Participation in the course is being supported by Taste 4 Success Skillnet.

This ‘Irish Whiskey in the World of Spirits’ course forms part of a broader Irish Whiskey Association #DiscoverIrishWhiskey on-trade programme which aim to reposition Irish whiskey more centrally in the reopened on-trade and to enhance the Irish whiskey experience available to the consumer. The programme will also see a range of practical and educational supports being rolled out for the Irish on-trade in 2022, with a view to expansion internationally.

Commenting today (26.10.21), William Lavelle, Head of the Irish Whiskey Association, said:

“The Irish on-trade, from pubs to restaurants to hotel bars, will benefit greatly in coming year from the ongoing strong growth in Irish whiskey sales among both homegrown and visiting consumers. As consumers turn more and more to Irish whiskey — whether they have come from down the road or are on an Irish Whiskey pilgrimage from overseas — it is important that they are met by staff who are equally attuned to our national spirit. The Irish whiskey industry is excited to be able to work hand-in-hand with the Irish on-trade premises and their staff – to support reopening and to deliver memorable Irish whiskey experiences for the consumer.”


Nicholas Ryan, founder of the Irish Whiskey and Spirits Institute stated:

“I am delighted to be working closely with the Irish Whiskey Association to develop and deliver the new ‘Irish Whiskey in the World of Spirits’ course. Whilst we educate people from both on- and off-trade about a range of spirits, their characteristics and provide a systematic approach to sensory training, we are hugely passionate in supporting the fast-growing Irish whiskey renaissance. Our courses are extremely interactive and we have taken them fully online allowing people to enjoy and participate in learning from the comfort of their own home or place of work.”


Bridie Corrigan-Matthews, Network Director of the Taste4Success Skillnet, added:

“The Taste4Success Skillnet works with our members to identify and drive training and upskilling in the food, seafood and drink sectors, to meet business, people and performance needs. We are delighted to support this new Irish Whiskey course and to work with the Irish whiskey industry to develop the knowledge and skills of staff on both the on- and off-trades.”


One of the Irish whiskey producers sponsoring place on the course is Irish Distillers. Claire Tolan, Managing Director – Ireland, Irish Distillers, said:

“We are delighted to be involved in this initiative which will give participants a great foundation in the production and characteristics of the Irish whiskey category. Ireland is, of course, the heart and home of Irish whiskey, so helping those working in both the on- and off-trade to deepen their knowledge will hopefully serve to enhance the consumer experience, develop Irish whiskey advocates and ultimately support growth in our category. The hospitality sector is, of course, emerging from a tough period, so I think it is very positive to be involved in a project which will offer an opportunity to those working in the sector to upskill in an area relevant to their roles.”

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