SAN FRANCISCO, March 17, 2012 — Irish whiskey and California wine, though not necessarily together, are two of the fastest-growing alcoholic beverages in the United States. Both are seeing phenomenal sales growth in recent years.
According to the Distilled Spirits Council, Irish whiskey is currently the fastest growing distilled spirit category, with sales increasing 246% over the past decade worldwide. Here in the US, Irish whiskey sales grew nearly 24% in 2011, while the rest of the industry was flat.
There doesn’t seem to be anything stopping California wine growth, either.
US wine exports, 90% from California, reached a new record of $1.39 billion in 2011, an increase of nearly 22% from 2010. This is directly attributable to the quality, diversity and value of California wines (as well as removing some trade barriers).
So why all the enthusiasm for Irish whiskey and California wines? Part of it is certainly access; there is more access to quality wines and whiskeys than before. To some extent, we are getting spoiled by access to this quality, but in a positive way.
People are raising their expectations and demanding more flavor and sophistication from what they are drinking. They want something with more complex flavor that they can sip and enjoy, a whiskey that doesn’t overwhelm them like other hard alcohols, for instance, or a wine that resonates with the consumers’ lifestyle.
Whatever the reason, and very luckily for us, we can have both high quality Irish whiskey and California wine from a single source - Concannon Vineyard.
Concannon’s founder, James Concannon, came to America in 1865 from Ireland, inspired and determined to find opportunity in the New World, and the family has been a fixture in quality and unique California winemaking since 1883. That’s nearly 130 years of perfecting their winemaking craft, and the experience can certainly be tasted in their wines.
James Concanncon founded his winery in 1883 with little more than some land, a family that believed in him, and some premium Bordeaux vine cuttings. These included petite sirah. Previously only viewed as a blending grape in France, Concannon believed that the unique Livermore Valley climate would be a perfect home for the petite sirah vines, and right he was. The grapes flourished, and the demand for this wine shot up as a new varietal was born. Concannon is now especially known for their Petite Sirah.
James Concannon was born with the luck of the Irish on this day, St. Patrick’s Day, 165 years ago. What better way to pay tribute to the founder of Concannon Vineyard than with the launch of a fine Irish whiskey?
Fast forward to 2012, and the introduction of Concannon Irish Whiskey. With the help of Cooley Distillery, Concannon is now bringing the craftsmanship and ingenuity that give distinction to their wines to the world of Irish whiskey. Theirs is a refined blend of malt and grain whiskeys that is craft distilled for the proper balance of character and purity.
The whiskey-making process begins in Ireland with local incredients and the Cooley high standards of whiskey making. Concannon then adds their own twist to the whiskey by finishing the aging process in their Petite Sirah barrels. It truly is liquid art. Concannon Irish Whiskey is the work of renowned, award-winning Master Blender, Noel Sweeney. The finished product has a taste profile with a full, clean taste delicately balanced between honey sweet, citrus and malt flavors, and a fresh oak finish.
Concannon Irish Whiskey can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in a variety of cocktails.
As both John Cooley and John Concannon told me: “Don’t let anyone tell you how to drink your whiskey. There is no right or wrong way, only that you enjoy it.”
With the 2012 holiday upon us, everyone might be a little bit Irish as the nation and world celebrates. You might consider St. Patty’s Day to be a gateway into the world of Irish whiskey; a gateway that might just have you sampling throughout the year.
No matter whether you are an established Irish whiskey and wine drinker, or you are new to one or both, one thing is very true; sample both from Concannon and you will be a fan for life.
To James Concannon, the Concannon family, the Cooley family and to Irish everywhere: May the luck of the Irish be with you.
Concannon wine tasting suggestions: Crimson & Clover, Heritage Petite Sirah, Captain Joe’s Petite Sirah, Viognier, Assemblage Red, Mother Vine Cabernet Sauvignon.
Be sure to visit their website for more on the history of Concannon Vineyard.
Find out more about Concannon Irish Whiskey on their website.
Want to try your hand at mixology? Here are some great mixing cocktail recipes: The Conhattan, Concannon Raspberry Basil Smash, the Old Fashioned Concannon, and a personal fav, Concannon & Bubbles. Find these recipes and more on the Concannon Irish Whiskey website.
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