Walsh Whiskey Distillery originated in the development of the Irish coffee liqueur Hot Irishman in 1999. In 2005, a follow-up product Irishman – Irish Cream Liqueur was launched before the company eventually moved into the whiskey market in 2007.
Who they are
Bernard and Rosemary Walsh, with a strong board of industry veterans, have built a portfolio of international award-winning drinks brands. In 2007 The Irishman Irish Whiskey range was launched, followed by Writers’ Tears Irish Whiskey in 2009. In 2013, the company announced a €25 million strategic partnership with Italian company Illva Saronno, best known for Disaronno liqueur.
In 2014, it commenced construction of a new distillery, the first to be built in Carlow in over 200 years. While its output matures, the company will continue sourcing product from Irish Distillers and Boortmalt, both of whom are Origin Green verified members.
Walsh Whiskey Distillery employs 33 people and exports to 45 countries around the world. They have won numerous international awards such as the Gold award in the International Spirits Challenge 2017, and most recently four gold medals in the 2017 Irish Whiskey Awards.
Sustainability is the cornerstone of the company’s long-term vision and has been key to the development of its new distillery building. The company constantly seeks to track, maintain and improve its performance in areas such as
- water usage
- waste water output
- energy efficiency
- community engagement
- employee empowerment
Resource efficiency is a priority in the new distillery building, with a heat recovery system and utility pumps ensuring optimum energy management.
The limited waste and by-products from the distilling process are reused as animal feed.
Origin Green in action
Walsh Whiskey Distillery sees participation in Origin Green as the next step in demonstrating its commitment to sustainability in the supply and production chain. Their Origin Green plan will run from 2017 to 2021 with the first year’s objective being the review of operations to date and providing benchmarking data. This will be followed by a focus on improved efficiencies.
Company sustainability actions centre on raw material sourcing, manufacturing, biodiversity and social sustainability.
In the area of raw material sourcing, they will ensure that 50% of the ingredients suppliers will have recognised sustainability certifications by 2021, along with 20% of all other suppliers.
In the area of manufacturing, they will seek to reduce energy per unit of output with specific targets set from 2018 onwards. They will also improve waste recycling by 10% by 2021 using 2017 as a baseline year.
The company has set its stretch target in the area of biodiversity. This involves the development of the distillery’s 40+ acre site into a pollinator friendly environment by 2021.
Walsh Whiskey Distillery has shown an enduring commitment to its employees and the local community over the years. Support for employees is expressed through increasing investment by 10% to facilitate more training and development of staff by 2021. The company also supports the cycle to work scheme and volunteering in the community.
Commitments to the local community include
- local funding and sponsorship
- guest lecturing and bursary provision at IT Carlow
- work placements for students
- business mentoring
- employee local charity scheme
A key target for Origin Green participation is health and nutritional wellness for employees. This will take priority as the company scales up production over the next five years. This includes:
- Providing nutritional advice for staff
- Promoting the bike to work scheme
- Sponsor local clubs promoting healthy lifestyles (increase by 10% during period 2018 – 2021).What they’re doing better
The distillery process relies on very large volumes of cooling water to condense the alcohol vapour during distillation. Therefore, Walsh Whiskey Distillery has focused on reducing the pressure on the public water supply by extracting water from the nearby River Barrow and passing it through the condensers before returning it to the river. By avoiding the use of cooling towers, the company also saves energy, reduces noise pollution and eliminates the microbial risks of water towers.
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- Website: walshwhiskey.com
- Facebook: TheIrishmanWhiskey
- Twitter: @walshwhiskey
- Youtube: Walsh Whiskey Distillery
- Instagram: walshwhiskey