Monday 22 December 2014

The Punt: Whiskey and bourbon galore for US drinkers

Published 20/08/2014 | 02:30

Canada's minister for women's issues, Dr. Kellie Leitch, said she will be contacting the country's largest companies in a campaign to increase the number of woman on company boards. Photo credit: Colin McConnell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Canada's minister for women's issues, Dr. Kellie Leitch, said she will be contacting the country's largest companies in a campaign to increase the number of woman on company boards. Photo credit: Colin McConnell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The popularity of Irish whiskey has experienced a surge in recent years, propelled by the global rise of Jameson as French owner Pernod Ricard invests heavily in the brand.

Much of Jameson's success has come from the United States. Pernod Ricard has sold €1.1bn worth of the whiskey there in the past decade. That success has also helped smaller Irish whiskey producers to gain a foothold and prompted the establishment of a number of new craft distilleries in Ireland.

But just as Irish whiskey is doing well in the US, bourbon makers there are also preparing for a sharp increase in demand for their product.

Last year, US bourbon makers filled 1.2 million barrels with the drink - the most since 1970. The Kentucky Distillers' Association said that bourbon inventory has 
now surpassed 5 million barrels for the first time since 1977. Kentucky is responsible for 95pc of the world's bourbon distilling and production has jumped more than 150pc in the past 15 years.

Exports of bourbon and Tennessee whiskey topped $1bn last year for the first time ever.

Irish whiskey could have a fresh battle on its hands as its resurgence continues.

Gender balance on boards

Should government directly intervene to ensure there's more of a gender balance on corporate boards?

The Canadian government seems to think so.

Kellie Leitch, Canada's minister for women's issues, said she's contacting the country's largest companies in a campaign to increase the number of woman on company boards.

Leitch intends to use moral persuasion to meet the government's goal of raising the representation of women on boards to 30pc within five years, she said.

Letters were sent to all of Canada's 500 largest companies last week and follow-up telephone calls will be made if needed. The government will also monitor the board structures of federally-regulated companies.

"We are reaching out to all and compelling them to think about this," she said.

In June, a Canadian government advisory council recommended a national benchmark for participation of women on boards, suggesting that publicly traded companies set goals and timelines for increased female involvement and explain why they're succeeding or lagging behind.

Women held 10pc of positions on Canadian boards in 2012, even though they held more than a third of business administration master's degrees in 2011.

Helipad nearly a relic by now

Another star of the boom has fallen on hard times, changing hands for a bargain price.

The Killashee House Hotel in Naas has been one of the best known hotels in Kildare in recent years. The place is one of the most active wedding venues in the country, notching about 180 such events a year. It takes a special effort to be able to run a wedding every two days.

The hotel was perhaps best known during the Celtic Tiger years, however, for its helipad.

Helicopter access became one of the "must have" accessories in the early part of this century, as hotels competed to be the best at everything.

Killashee was no different to its rivals, and the helipad was frequently used when the races were on across the way at the Curragh.

Derby weekend in particular used to see huge air traffic as the great and the good moved between the track and hotel.

Those movements are a lot less common these days of course. But if you have the means, Killashee's pad is open for business. The hotel's website gives helicopter coordinates as well as driving directions.

You can't just rock up and land though. Pad use must be "booked in advance".

Irish Independent

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