South Africa welcomes the arrival of McConnell’s Irish Whisky, one of Ireland’s most historic and most cherished whiskey brands, as it embarks on a new chapter in its remarkable journey. This iconic whiskey is now within reach for South African connoisseurs, thanks to the renaissance led by the Belfast Distillery Company in collaboration with Firebrand Africa.
With roots tracing back to the year 1776, McConnell’s Irish Whisky boasts a storied past, founded by the esteemed McConnell family, who were revered blenders, bottlers, and distillers in Belfast City over three centuries. A testament to their success, McConnell’s thrived for more than 150 years, etching its name in the annals of Irish whiskey history. However, the whiskey industry faced its trials in the form of fire, war, political turmoil, and technological advancements, leading to a decline in the 1930s.
Fast forward to 2019, and McConnell’s Irish Whisky has experienced a remarkable revival, spreading its wings to over 40 global markets. Now, with great anticipation, the Belfast Distillery Company eagerly anticipates the inauguration of the new McConnell’s Distillery and Visitor Experience. Housed in a Grade A listed building – A wing of The Crumlin Road Gaol – this venture promises a captivating journey into the heart of McConnell’s legacy.
John Kelly, Chief Executive at McConnell’s Irish Whisky, will be gracing South African shores this month, with visits planned for both Cape Town and Johannesburg. He brings with him the compelling story of McConnell’s and its ambitious future endeavours, coinciding with his attendance at Whisky Live. Mr. Kelly remarked:
“In partnership with Firebrand Africa, we are thrilled to introduce McConnell’s Irish Whisky to South Africa, sharing the rich history and heritage of our brand with this region. Our schedule is bustling, with planned visits to Cape Town and our participation in Whisky Live in Johannesburg, where we will present our portfolio of premium products.
“I am eager to meet fellow whiskey enthusiasts and share the remarkable journey of McConnell’s Irish Whisky, including our esteemed 5-Year and Sherry Cask Finish expressions.”
Carolina van der Horst, Managing Director of Firebrand Africa, expressed her excitement: “We are delighted to welcome McConnell’s into our brand portfolio. John’s presence in South Africa for the launch of the Sherry Cask Finish and Whisky Live presents a wonderful opportunity to introduce these expressions to a wider audience, paving the way for exciting new launches and activations in 2024.”
During his visit, John Kelly will be showcasing two of McConnell’s award-winning products. The original McConnell’s Irish Whisky 5 Year, is a masterful blend of Irish malt and grain whiskies, gently matured in select bourbon casks, imparting delightful notes of vanilla sweetness, ripe fruits, butterscotch, and pepper spice. This 5-year expression is bottled at 43% ABV.
Also debuting in the South African market is McConnell’s Sherry Cask Finish, aged for five years, initially matured in first-fill select Bourbon barrels and then finished in the finest Oloroso Sherry Casks, unveiling rich aromas of dried figs, dark chocolate, and lingering spice. It is bottled at 46% ABV, non-chill filtered.
In recent years, accolades have continued to pour in for McConnell’s 5 Year across Europe and the US, earning 93 points in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge and securing Gold at both the London Spirits Awards and San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The newly launched Sherry Cask Finish has also garnered global recognition, including Double Platinum at the Ascot Awards, Master at The Spirits Business Irish Whiskey Masters, and Gold at the International Spirits Challenge.
You can meet the McConnell’s team at Stand 14 during Whisky Live Johannesburg, taking place from November 1st to 3rd. For more information about McConnell’s Irish Whisky, please visit www.mcconnellsirishwhisky.com
For more information contact Chuma Siswana at Chuma@themediaengagement.africa or 0603302425