Business Irish

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Former finance trader to launch new Irish whiskey

'Natterjack - a high malt content Irish whiskey blend that has been in development for the past three years - is finished in American Virgin Oak barrels, giving it a distinctive flavour.' (stock photo)
'Natterjack - a high malt content Irish whiskey blend that has been in development for the past three years - is finished in American Virgin Oak barrels, giving it a distinctive flavour.' (stock photo)

Fearghal O'Connor

Careers in high finance may have driven many to strong drink in the past but Aidan Mehigan's journey from New York trading floors to a Waterford distillery will be the fulfilment of a great ambition.

The former hedge fund manager and FX trader will next month launch Natterjack Irish Whiskey.

Mehigan - who leads a group of private investors - is also preparing plans to retrofit a state of the art distillery into a 150-year-old mill building in Kilmacthomas, Co Waterford, acquired in 2016.

He has hired US distiller Jordan Via - who is also master distiller on singer Bob Dylan's new Heaven's Door whiskey brand.

"We've finished our bottling run and have orders in place from the US, China, Europe and the UK. It will be available from independent retail outlets in Ireland from February," he said.

Mehigan began his career in the mail room of a hedge fund in 2004 but through "a mixture of charm, aggression and basic maths" made it to the trading floor two years later.

"In 2015 I decided I'd had enough. You can make decent money but there is nothing tangible in financial services. You never actually hold anything you have made and that irked me," he said.

Mehigan had spent 13 years in New York and London working in finance but was on last year's Back for Business pilot programme, a government initiative launched by Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs Ciaran Cannon.

The closing date for applicants for this year's programme is January 25 and Mehigan said it provided him with "focus and experience necessary to get my business off the ground".

Natterjack - a high malt content Irish whiskey blend that has been in development for the past three years - is finished in American Virgin Oak barrels, giving it a distinctive flavour.

"That is a unique selling point and means that our flavour profile is very different to anything else on the Irish whiskey market at the moment.

"We have an American distiller and his history is in American whiskey. Those things are a tip of the hat by us to what America has done with whiskey. But we in Ireland invented whiskey and Natterjack is still very much an Irish whiskey."

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