Michael Flatley debuts Irish whiskey

Professional dancer Michael Flatley has made his first move into spirits with the launch of a new Irish whiskey brand.

Distilled at the Great Northern Distillery in Ireland, the first release from the Flatley Irish Whiskey brand is a five-year-old blend, called The Dreamer.

Flatley, known for creating and performing in Irish dance shows Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, is also a long-time collector of Irish whiskey.

The dancer, who was born to Irish parents, said the idea to launch his own brand began during his multi-million-pound restoration of his Castlehyde estate in Cork. The restoration work saw Flatley add a wood-panelled whiskey room to his house, where he hosts tastings.

“For me, Irish whiskey, much like Irish dance, embodies the essence of Ireland – its history, its spirit, and its ability to bring people together in celebration,” said Flatley.

“Irish whiskey was a favourite of my father’s. It was through his passion that I came to appreciate its complex flavours. So, it’s a very proud moment to launch Flatley Irish Whiskey, as I know he will be smiling down on me.”

Speaking about the name of the debut release, Flatley added: “With ‘The Dreamer’, we’re distilling the essence of Irish tradition, the dreams that fuel us and the people that inspire us.”

For the creation of the brand, Flatley has teamed up with Jim Clerkin, who will serve as CEO, Pierrick Bouquet, and Noel Sweeney, who crafted the liquid.

“They all understood my vision, my desire to craft a whiskey that would be remembered from the first sip and could be enjoyed by all,” Flatley explained. “The result is an exquisite blend that is rare and bold and I’m very proud of it.”

Sweeney, the former master distiller of Ireland’s Powerscourt Distillery and Cooley Distillery, said it was an honour to work with Flatley on the product.

“He is one of Ireland’s most prominent and significant ambassadors, enriching our culture through his promotion of Irish dance and music on a truly global scale, and now through whiskey,” Sweeney said.

Clerkin is the chairman of US online retailer ReserveBar and chairman of the board for Tequila seltzer brand Onda. He also helped launch Spencer Matthews’ CleanCo brand in the US and was the former CEO of Moët Hennessy North America.

Meanwhile, Bouquet previously served as the vice-president of marketing for flavoured Tequila 21 Seeds (later sold to Diageo) and was formerly the chief brand officer of Calirosa Tequila. He also worked with Clerkin on his Demeter & Co drinks business.

The 43% ABV whiskey is set to launch in the summer, with a global rollout planned in 2025.

Flatley Whiskey has signed a distribution deal in Ireland with distributor Dalcassian Wines and Spirits.

Ireland’s leading grocery retailer, SuperValu, has begun stocking the whiskey in more than 175 stores across the country.

Priced at a RRP of €45 (US$48), The Dreamer is now available in stores, bars and hotels on the island of Ireland, and online from the brand’s website.

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