CURRENT ISSUE:  August 2023

Irish Whiskey Society America launches Inaugural Irish Whiskey Awards

Irish Whiskey Society America launches Inaugural Irish Whiskey Awards

The Irish Whiskey Society America (IWSA) is excited to launch its inaugural Irish Whiskey Awards. Nominations are now open at the IWSA website here – where members of the public can nominate their favorites across 13 categories. Nominations close on Wednesday, November 30, and once these have been tabulated the top three in each category will move forward to be voted on from Thursday, December 15 to Sunday, January 8.

The awards are being given the moniker “The Izzys” which is a play on the society’s acronym, IWSA, and the society will be announcing the awards in January during “Awards Season.” 

The Izzys are focused on Irish whiskeys that are available for sale in the United States in addition to a couple of categories that celebrate those who sell Irish whiskey with both a Pub/Bar of the Year and a Liquor Store/Retailer of the Year category.

Irish whiskey sales have seen phenomenal growth in US sales over the last number of years buoyed by a substantial number of new distilleries that have opened across the island of Ireland. The most recent “official” number of these distilleries is “over 40” according to the industry body in Ireland, the Irish Whiskey Association; however, the number of market participants far exceeds this when factoring in bonders, independent bottlers, and private label brands.

selection of Irish whiskeys that are available in the US pictured atop a Bourbon cask. These casks are used in the aging process of Irish whiskey. Credit IWSA/Andrew Healy
A selection of Irish whiskeys available in the US atop a Bourbon cask.These casks are used in the aging process of Irish whiskey. Credit IWSA/Andrew Healy

Irish Whiskey
“With the growth in Irish whiskey sales here in America we thought it was time to honor those who are doing such a great job.” said Allan Dwyer a founding member and now President of the IWSA “The US is the single biggest market for Irish whiskey sales and its continued growth is one of the reasons we have such a great selection of Irish whiskeys. While distribution can be a challenge due to individual states’ rules and regulations the majority of America is very well served with a wide range of Irish whiskeys to purchase.”

Categories include Favorite Single Pot Still, Favorite Single Malt, Favorite Blended Whiskey, and Favorite Single Grain, which is a style of Irish whiskey that has shone as new distilleries have opened and used sourced grain whiskey while their own stocks of spirit mature in cask. There are also a number of price based categories that members of the public can vote on including “Everyday Drinker under $35,” Premium Irish whiskey from $35 to $100, and Super Premium above that. Lovers of the small but growing sub-category of Peated Irish Whiskey won’t be disappointed as that has also been included for nominations. 

Redbreast Irish whiskeys that are available in the US. Credit IWSA/Allan Dwyer
Redbreast Irish whiskeys that are available in the US. Credit IWSA/Allan Dwyer

“We’ve come a long way since the society was founded in the now defunct Whiskey Priest pub in Boston in 2010,” says Dwyer “as back then we were tasting and talking about Irish whiskey from only four operational distilleries. It’s great to have seen it evolve to this stage and we are delighted to honor those who have done so much for Irish whiskey and will continue to do so each year as the renaissance continues. We’re excited that The Izzy’s will become the vehicle for celebrating Irish whiskey here in the USA each year going forward. 2022 has been a banner year for the society,” continued Dwyer “with the release of COVID delayed Tenth Anniversary bottling and the announcement of our first Cask Program with Powerscourt Distillery in Co. Wicklow.”

Members of the public, aged 21 and older, can nominate and then vote for their favorite Irish whiskeys and more at the IWSA Website:   

The schedule is as follows;
Nominations to get to the Top 3 in each category – Friday, November 18 to Wednesday, November 30
Voting on the Top 3 nominated in each category – Thursday, December 15 to Sunday, January 8
Awards announced – week of January 23
For more details please contact Allan Dwyer on (781) 507-5134 or by email at al*********@ir*****************.com

Irish Whiskey Society America (IWSA)
The Irish Whiskey Society America (IWSA) is the only officially sanctioned American chapter of the Irish Whiskey Society in Ireland.
The goal of the IWSA is to expand the awareness and appreciation of the full range of Irish Whiskey through the responsible and congenial enjoyment of Ireland’s signature spirit.
Founded in 2010 the IWSA is a membership-based organization that offers online resources through its website in addition to ongoing member tastings, both virtual and in person.

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