~ Local bartenders share whiskey wisdom following trip to Irish Whiskey Academy with Powers Irish Whiskey~

A talented group of local bartenders are sharing their passion for Irish whiskey, following a trip to the Irish Whiskey Academy at the world-famous Midleton Distillery in Co. Cork.

In late 2016, iconic Irish whiskey brand Powers hosted a unique, Whiskey Wisdom Distilled Challenge’, which resulted in entries from groups of bartenders from right across Northern Ireland.

The competition – devised by drinks company Dillon Bass – featured a series of challenges and was hotly contested. Following tough competition, a team from Bullitt Belfast clinched the prize – an immersive 48-hour experience at Midleton’s Irish Whiskey Academy.

The bartenders were treated to the Academy’s ‘Enthusiasts Package’, which includes special behind the scenes access and a packed programme led by Midleton’s experts, showing how whiskey is crafted at Midleton, from grain to glass.

Following their return, Bullitt bartenders Alex Johnston, Conor Smith and Frankie Cosgrove have been sharing their knowledge with customers, including some hidden gems discovered in Midleton’s archives.

Here’s a taste of their newfound whiskey wisdom:


World Wide Appeal

  • Did you know that by 1900 Powers was being exported all over the world? In 1905 you could enjoy a glass of Powers whiskey in Egypt, South Africa, North America as well as throughout Europe. They produced beautifully designed showcards to advertise their whiskey all over the world.
  • Powers exhibited internationally on a regular basis, including at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. There they created a show stopping exhibit. Bringing over their own crafts men from John’s Lane, they created a life size replica of an Irish Round Tower, made out of mahogany tiers upon which bottles of Powers whiskey were placed; their Gold Labels reflected in the light were the bricks. It was an incredible sight, reported in the papers at the time. For Powers, it stood for everything they believed in Irish, craft and finished to the highest possible standard.

Baby Powers

  • The distilling firm John Power & Son of John’s Lane in Dublin, was the first company in the world to bottle miniatures. The ‘Baby Power’ was first produced in 1889. The size of the miniature became so associated with Powers that people would regularly ask for a ‘Baby Powers of Jameson’ (or any other beverage) up until the 1970s in Ireland.
  • The ‘Baby Power’ originally featured a cork cap, much like a modern wine bottle, in response to customers who found it difficult to open with a full-size corkscrew, a version was produced that had its own corkscrew attached!

Green Fingers

  • Did you know that the flat roof of the Powers Warehouse at John’s Lane was covered in earth and was used by staff to plant vegetables. The last hay harvest on the roof took place in the 1970s.

Powers Labels

  • Powers were one of the first of the Dublin Distilleries to bottle their own whiskey in house. Prior to that they would have sold their spirit in bulk to Merchants and Publicans who would have bottled it using labels supplied by the Distillery. In 1886 Powers developed their ‘Gold Label’ which only went on whiskey bottled in house by the firm, third party bottlings used a White Label to distinguish them. This led to Power’s whiskey being known as ‘Gold Label’
  • The iconic ‘Three Swallow’ logo seen on historic Powers labels was originally an age statement for the whiskey. One swallow = 4 year old, three swallows = 7 year old.
  • The ‘three swallow’ logo became part of Irish urban folklore when it was believed that is how you should drink a glass of Power’s whiskey, in ‘Three Swallows’.

Bullitt bartender, Conor Smith said: “Our time at The Irish Whiskey Academy provided a great insight into the craft of producing great Irish whiskey.

The time, effort and passion that goes into the process is just mind blowing and this is represented in the delicate flavours that exist in each bottle of Powers. Back in Belfast, we are excited to use this experience to explore how we can develop these flavours to create exciting new cocktails, or just simply use our knowledge to advise our customers.”

Stuart Irvine, a whiskey enthusiast and blogger from Belfast was a judge for the Powers Whiskey Wisdom Distilled Challenge and joined the bartenders on the trip, alongside Powers Irish Whiskey Ambassador, Joe Magowan.


Commenting on the experience, Stuart said: “Midleton is harnessing the rich, unparalleled history of Powers to create a range of quality whiskeys that can sit alongside the best in the world. It was an incredible experience to join the Bullitt team and to soak up the incredible knowledge that was imparted to us from the Academy’s experts.”

For more whiskey wisdom and for upcoming announcements about Powers’ plans for World Whisky Day on 20th May, visitwww.whiskeyclub.com or connect with Powers Irish Whiskey on Facebook and Twitter, @PowersWhiskeyNI