Perhaps best known for producing Ireland’s first spiced rum, Kinsale’s Blacks Brewery and Distillery was founded by husband and wife team Sam and Maud Black in 2013.
With a portfolio that contains gin, whiskey, and variety of award-winning craft beers, the business has big plans for the future. We caught up with brand ambassador Darren Murphy to learn more about the brewery's extensive range and the plans for the launch of its own whiskey.
What prompted the creation of the first Irish spiced rum?
Firstly, we love rum and I believe you need a genuine passion for your products so the idea started there. In addition, it just seemed to make sense as our distillery in Kinsale is by the sea and with the town having a long nautical tradition it tied into the authenticity of the story nicely. Part of the attraction was also having access to rum barrels that can be used in the future to age our whiskey in. I suppose we are also watching trends in the market and many tip rum to be the next big growth product in the spirits market, let's see.
How would you describe it?
It’s a beautiful fusion of quality spirit produced from Guatemalan molasses with influences of Irish terroir and craftsmanship. In the nose sweet vanilla, butterscotch, cola, banana, coffee, and spice just demand your attention. Hints of orange, lime and ripe pears add a fresh, fruity balance and exciting character, but the party has only just begun. On the palate molasses, sherry, chipotle and hazelnut develops progressively into velvety Guatemalan coffee, cocoa, cracked black pepper and oak.
Was the distillery a natural progression from the brewery?
I guess some of the technology and expertise are transferable and there is some overlap like logistics and distribution for example but there are also many differences in production, marketing and legislation to mention just a few. It's more about what vision you have for your business and we believe that producing excellent quality beers and spirits is key to our future success.
Can you tell us a little about the rest of the Black’s offering?
You could say our beer portfolio is heavily influenced by the craft beer scene in the US. I guess we are best known for Kinsale Pale Ale (KPA) - it's our flagship beer brand and gold medal winner at the Dublin Craft Beer Cup 2018. We have just launched a range of High PA style beers infused with cannabis terpenes that are proving very popular on draught so keep an eye out for these beers in cans, coming soon.
On the spirits side of things Blacks Irish Gin, a silver medal winner at the London Spirits Competition in 2019, is our premium gin brand. It's wonderfully aromatic with the infusion of 13 botanicals including the addition of wild Irish heather that provides an extra layer of floral complexity to the existing citrus and earthy flavours. In 2018 we added a 12-year-old single malt whiskey to our portfolio. That will be followed by a blended black cask whiskey due to be launched in summer 2019. We have been totally transparent from day one about the fact that we have sourced the whiskies but the exciting news is that our own whiskey production will begin in Kinsale in 2020.
What is the Whiskey Founders Club?
The Founders Club is a special opportunity to invest in an individualised cask of pot stilled, single malt Irish whiskey produced in Kinsale Co Cork. We are offering the first 500 casks to individuals looking to invest and become part of an exclusive founders' club. The investment matures after a five year period with a guaranteed return on investment through our buyback scheme. Investors may choose to have the contents of their personalised whiskey casks bottled on site by Blacks Distillery or leave it to age further and appreciate in value if current trends continue.
So there’s whiskey, gin, and a spiced rum, not to mention various beers. What are the future plans for the business? Nobody knows what the future holds but for sure whiskey will be a big part of what we do moving forward. From a broader perspective, we will continue to concentrate on quality innovation and growth to stay on the cutting edge of our industry.
For more information on the Founders Club, email: [email protected]