Beer or spirits? ‘It is like trying to choose between children’

Black’s of Kinsale is the only practitioners of the two arts in Ireland

Black’s of Kinsale’s offering include whiskey, rum and gin

Black’s of Kinsale’s offering include whiskey, rum and gin

 

Black’s of Kinsale began as a craft brewery in 2013. Sam Black’s interest in beer began when Maudeline presented him with a home brew kit on St Valentine’s Day. In 2015, the pair expanded into spirits and are therefore Ireland’s only practitioners of the two arts. 

“We have the same people working on both sides of the business, filling casks and bottling,” Sam tells me. “There is a great synergy between the two; it allows us to age our beers in spirit barrels and vice versa.” Which is more important to them? “It’s 50-50. They are both important, it is like trying to choose between children, equally troublesome and taking the same amount of time.”

Unsurprisingly, a gin was the first spirit, followed by Ireland’s first ever rum, produced entirely in this country. “We have been distilling for whiskey for a year and four days. We probably won’t do a three-year-old; that might be a bit young so we are more likely to release our first one in four years’ time. We have some new whiskey products we are working on. They will be cutting edge, older malts with different finishes that we will launch soon.

Collectors

“We are not tied to release dates, we taste as we go to see when they are ready. It could be three weeks or three months.”

The interest in rum has expanded; their latest release is an 18-year-old single malt whiskey finished in rum casks. Only 563 bottles were produced. Priced at €500 for a bottle, it will probably appeal to collectors. As well as their Founder’s Club, Black’s recently launched the Pieces of Eight Cask Club whereby customers can buy 1/8 of a cask, equivalent to 30-50 bottles of whiskey depending on strength, for €995, including bottling and labels.

 “We are busy, and a bit shocked – we are filling kegs for the first time in 18 months. The rum is selling well, although pub sales were a big part of that. We will be serving rum and gin cocktails at The Wild Roots Festival in Sligo on August 13th-14th.”

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