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New terminology & packaging for Irish whiskey

Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard plans to underline the heritage of Irish whiskey with a new initiative – Single Pot Still Whiskeys of Midleton.

Aimed at promoting consistent communication on the provenance and quality of single pot still whiskey*, the launch heralds an increase in investment in Irish Distillers’ existing portfolio, ahead of a planned roll out of extensions later in the year.  The move marks the adoption of new terminology for this style of whiskey – from ‘Pure Pot Still’ to ‘Single Pot Still’.

Improved packaging for Redbreast and Green Spot, from April 2011, is set to enhance the portfolio and better reflect its super-premium positioning, while the inclusion of the Single Pot Still Whiskeys of Midleton quality mark on the back label of each expression will communicate the provenance message to consumers globally.

Global category development director for Irish whiskey at Irish Distillers, Brendan Buckley, said: "Single Pot Still whiskey was once the world’s most popular style of whiskey. Today, although used as a key component in many of our well known Irish blends, Redbreast and Green Spot are the only remaining single pot still whiskey brands available on a global commercial basis. Our aim is to nurture these brands and to help safeguard the history and heritage of single pot still whiskey on behalf of the Irish whiskey industry.

“This initiative symbolises a new chapter for pot still Irish whiskey, and signals renewed energy in the category. In partnership with our global distributors, we will be investing behind these brands with the clear intention of restoring our unique whiskey style to its former glory. We are confident that through this initiative, the Irish whiskey category will benefit, as more and more consumers continue to discover this exceptional style of whiskey”.

The enhanced Redbreast range retains its distinctive shaped bottle, label and logo, with additional elements such as a wood cut illustration of a pot still, printed on copper foil and, by way of explaining the origin of the name of Redbreast, a robin motif.  A strong point of reference for consumers, the descriptor ‘single pot still Irish whiskey’ is given a clear presence on the front label. A colour code has also been introduced with burgundy distinguishing Redbreast 12 Year Old from the green Redbreast 15 Year Old. Gift cartons for both expressions have also benefited from a considerable upgrade with heavier carton stock and the use of emboss and copper foil devices, adding to the range’s super-premium cues.

Irish Distillers lesser known single pot still whiskey brand, Green Spot has received a transformational makeover. Originally produced exclusively for the Mitchell family in Dublin in the 1800s**, Green Spot’s traditional green bottle is replaced with a stylish clear glass bottle with higher shoulders, a shorter neck and an enlarged base offering the perfect backdrop for the striking new label. A contemporary canister, which features an image of a cask marked with a green spot, is set to increase the gift appeal of this celebrated limited release expression.

Single Pot Still whiskey is unique to Ireland, and in particular Midleton, Co. Cork. Made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley that is then triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills, this style of whiskey is renowned for its full, complex flavours and smooth, creamy mouth feel.

 * The Irish whiskey industry is changing the terminology used to describe its most famous whiskey style – from April 2011 onwards ‘pure pot still’ Irish whiskey will be referred to as ‘pot still’ Irish whiskey and for those whiskeys originating from a Single distillery, the prefix ‘single’ will be used, giving rise to the new industry term ‘Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey’.
The new terminology was prompted by the launch of Redbreast 15 Year Old Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey in the USA in 2010, wherein the US Trade & Tariff Bureau (TTB) invoked a regulation prohibiting the use of the term ‘pure’ as it pertains to whiskey descriptors.

** Green Spot was originally produced exclusively for the Mitchell family who commenced trading in Dublin in 1805 as purveyors of confectionary, wines and fortified wines.   In 1887, this entrepreneurial family expanded into the whiskey bonding business whereby they sent empty wine, sherry and port casks via horse and cart to the local Jameson Distillery which were then filled and returned to the Mitchell’s cellar warehouse. There, the whiskeys matured for many years under bond until they were ready to be bottled and sold.
This Green Spot name originated from the Mitchell family’s practice of marking casks of different ages with a daub of coloured paint. There was a Blue Spot, Red Spot and even a Yellow Spot, but Green Spot emerged as their most popular whiskey and is one of the few “whiskey bonder brands” to survive to modern day.




1 April 2011 - Felicity Murray