McGuane said The Chapel Gate has "good" reserves of 27-year-old stock

McGuane said The Chapel Gate has "good" reserves of 27-year-old stock

An Irish whiskey bonder has underlined comments from former Cooley Distillery owner John Teeling that the segment is running out of aged stock.

Speaking to just-drinks today, The Chapel Gate founder Louise McGuane said there is already a scarcity of aged stock in Ireland. As a whiskey bonder, McGuane has been purchasing older liquid since setting up Chapel Gate in 2015. But, she warned that the next five to ten years will be difficult for independent Irish whiskey companies as mature stock is running out.

"Any independent whiskey distillery who does not have a plan to get over this hump is going to find it difficult," McGuane continued. "This is why you are seeing a surge in new Irish white spirits like gin and vodka from new indie players. They need them to generate revenue."

Teeling, who sold Cooley to Beam Inc for close to US$95m in 2011, told the Irish Times today that rising global demand could lead to a shortage of Irish whiskey over the next few years. He also said that the Cooley-aged malt that Japanese firm Suntory acquired as part of its acquisition of Beam in 2014 has now all gone.

"Soon, there will be a shortage of Irish whiskey," said Teeling, who now supplies bulk malt and grain whiskey through his new company, Great Northern Distillery. "What we are making now, you won't sell for seven years. So, we will have a shortage if the rate of growth continues at a cumulative rate over the next six or seven years."

As Irish whiskey comes of age, so do its challenges - Click here for a just-drinks focus

McGuane, a former Diageo executive, said that an upside from the scarcity is extra desire and demand from consumers. She explained that Chapel Gate has strong reserves of 27-year-old whiskey that will allow it to release ultra-premium products in the years to come. 

"Irish whiskey is truly a rare commodity," McGuane went on. "Ireland can really claim rarity over Scotch and that is something I hope to capitalise on."

The Irish Whiskey Association said that while matching supply with demand will be a challenge, it is something the industry has been preparing for in recent years.

"We have gone from having four distilleries to 18," a spokesperson said. "Over the next two years, a lot of those newer distilleries will have matured liquid coming on to the market for the first time. This is in addition to existing distilleries ramping up production."

Irish whiskey is not the only potential shortage that Suntory is dealing with. Last month, the company confirmed that it will discontinue two of its Japanese whiskies, citing supply constraints.

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