The Irishman® range of super-premium whiskeys produced by Walsh Whiskey (part of the Amber Beverage Group) has undergone an extensive rebranding to reflect its dedication to the pursuit of excellence in Single Malt whiskeys. The €500,000 rebranding, which sees wholesale changes to The Irishman’s bottle, labelling and packaging, follows a strategic review which commenced in April 2020. Walsh Whiskey was assisted in the review by Bord Bia’s (The Irish Food Board) specialist Insight Centre – The Thinking House. The extensive design project was undertaken by HERE design agency in London.
Walsh Whiskey is investing €500,000 in the rebranding between research, commissioning a new bottle design, brand redesign, packaging production and a range of marketing initiatives. The rebrand will support the whiskey brand’s target of doubling sales across its 50+ markets within five years.
Announcing the renewed focus on single malt and the brand redesign, Walsh Whiskey founder Bernard Walsh said: “As the Irish whiskey category continues to develop with increasing variety, it is important that we are clear in our proposition to whiskey consumers. Our message is simple: The Irishman will always be single malt focused – whether championed in pure expressions or blends – and that it will always be triple distilled to leave a lasting impression.”
He added: “We respect and honour Ireland’s great distilling heritage, while also exploring exciting new innovations through the use of rare and unusual woods and finishes, as well as cereal varieties, to influence the single malt spirit. To date this has seen us work with Florio Marsala, Oloroso Sherry, Caribbean Rum and Irish Peated Red Ale. In the generational pursuit of whiskey excellence, our quest for the perfect dram, or taoscán [tay-scawn] of single malt, is just beginning.”
The most striking change in The Irishman rebrand is the introduction of a bespoke, tall, tapered bottle. All expressions in the range are now sealed with a cork which affirms the super-premium nature of the whiskeys. The bottle has strong whiskey cues, including broad ‘shoulders’ and a tapered base. A significant feature of the bottle is a series of embossed phrases around the lower part of the bottle that capture the essence of The Irishman’s focus and purpose, which is ‘to pursue a lifelong journey in search of the perfect dram/ taoscán of single malt, while respecting past traditions and with ambition for future possibilities.
The rededication and rebrand of The Irishman in honour of Single Malt whiskey commences in Ireland (including Dublin Airport) on the 3rd of February, before rolling out across Europe and North America from April onwards and the rest of the world in the second half of 2022.
A new brand icon is one of three very distinctive features on the label and product packaging, which also contain a lot of the unique, technical details of each expression. The icon, which features a capital letter ‘I’ (for Irishman) inside two-tone staves of a barrel, signifies The Irishman’s journey to learn from the past while creating the future.
Other unique and notable features of the new labels are the addition of braille for the visually impaired and nutritional and calorific information on e-labels positioned on back of pack and online. The brail highlighting The Irishman’s brand name, is also a personal tribute by Bernard Walsh to the memory of his own grandfather, Jack Walsh, whose loss of vision made a lasting impression on his grandson.
E-labelling is part of an EU initiative to ensure that consumers have access to more information about their food and drink products. The e-label is both an on-the-bottle and online feature (QR code), containing information about the whiskey’s nutritional and calorific features. Walsh Whiskey is an early adopter of e-labels having participated in a pilot study organised by spiritsEUROPE (the European representative body for spirits companies) and CEEV (the representative body for wine companies). There are also changes to the composition of the range, with a change of name for one core expression and the addition of a limited edition to the core of the portfolio.
The Founder’s Reserve blend (70% Single Malt & 30% Pot Still) has been renamed The Harvest. This expression, a truly unique blend of two premium styles of whiskey, started life as the first ever whiskey created by Walsh Whiskey’s Founder. The renaming of this core expression as The Harvest honours the great contribution of the farming community in the whiskey-making process. The whiskey is crafted entirely from a mash bill of 100% Irish barley.
First released as a limited edition bottling in 2018, The Irishman Caribbean Cask is being added to the portfolio’s core expressions which also include The Harvest; Single Malt; 12-Year-Old Single Malt; 17-Year-Old Single Malt & the Vintage Cask. The Irishman Caribbean Cask Finish is a rare vatting of Single Malt and Single Pot Still whiskeys finished for 6 months in Chairman’s Reserve Rum casks from the tiny tropical Caribbean island of Saint Lucia, before being bottled at 46% ABV.
A new colour palette of understated cream, green, grey, blue and burgundy is applied to the labels of the six core expressions of The Irishman range.