Irish Restaurants and Irish Whiskey

An Irish Whiskey Idea for Irish Restaurants. An Irish Whiskey List as carefully compiled as the Wine List?

Just last week, I was dining out in one of my favourite Irish Midlands Restaurants.

I hadn’t been there in a few months, so I was looking forward to their completely revamped menu and wine list that my friends, who live near the restaurant, had been raving about.

I was not to be disappointed. The food and service were superb and the wine list, which I understand was compiled by the great Wines Direct in Mullingar, had some fantastic wines at amazing restaurant prices in bottles, half bottles and by the glass. I sampled two wines (one for each course) and also scrounged a taste from my partner who was on a different wine. All were genuinely superb. So good that it struck me that I must stop buying overpriced and over rated supermarket wines and set up an account with a good Irish wine merchant!

So, if you are still with me… Great company, great restaurant, great food, great wine and great staff. All I needed now was a really nice whiskey to really finish off a wonderful dining out experience in style.

I asked the Head Waiter ……….(who I know well) and who was a great source of information and advice on their wine list…. Have you Whiskey?

Says she, we have!

Says I, what have you got?

Says she, I think we have Bushmills and Paddy but I’ll check. Back she came to confirm that they had Black Bush (perfectly acceptable) and Paddy which she admitted herself, they only kept for Irish Coffees.

So! (and this was my Eureka moment for the Irish Restaurant Industry), why do restaurateurs in a country with such a dynamic and growing Irish Whiskey Industry pay so much attention to a wine list with French, Spanish, Italian and New World wines, but pay token lip service to a complementary Irish Whiskey List.

My suggestion which they might consider taking up, was that I could compile a simple Irish Whiskey List for them to source from their local supplier which they could then charge a fair but premium price for.

For around €300, an Irish restaurant could have a Redbreast, Green Spot, Connemara, Teeling, Bushmills (Black or Malt) and a Powers Johns Lane, all of which will sell well. Throw in a few good whiskey Tumblers and some nosing glasses and you’ve brought your close of dining experience to a new level. You could even add in some nice but affordable quality Scotch whisky such as a Laphroaig or Glenlivet.

These are all whiskeys that the average punter might not normally afford to buy by the bottle. They will however treat themselves to something special when dining somewhere special. Quality sells and feeds quality!

I’ve always been of the opinion that the time period after the main course is when you are most likely to convince your customers to return. It’s often the last “feel good” minutes of the evening which linger in the memory.

Midlands restaurants could promote local whiskeys such as Kilbeggan, Lockes Distillery and Tullamore D.E.W..

For tourists, it would add a huge degree of quality to their Irish dining experience. I bet most of them will buy a bottle of what they had at your restaurant at the airport and better still, will introduce their friends to Irish Whiskey when they bring that bottle home.

If any Irish restaurant would like to take up my challenge, I’d be delighted to assist them in compiling a good Irish Whiskey list with their own supplier with €250 of matched funds. Email me at stuart (at) or give me a shout on 087 2 111 222 for a quick chat if interested!

Just my little bit for the Irish Restaurant Industry!

Kind regards,


  1. Such a good article…one of the things that has baffled me in all my wonderful visits to Ireland is the relative lack of attention that Irish Restaurants…and even Pubs/Bars…give to the length and breadth of Irish Whiskey. I find it sad when a Yank has to familiarize an Irish establishment on the variety and craftsmanship of Irish Whiskies.

  2. Garret

    Lovely evening meal in parknasilla but the drinks menu showed only scotch whiskys

  3. Michael D

    I manage a hotel in China and it is disappointing that our Irish Whiskey selection, while limited, equals that of most restaurants and bars in Ireland. The only thing stopping us is availability, and this is slowly changing for the better. The other place that is very disappointing is the bar at the gates in Dublin airport. With all the great investment in the duty free, you’d think they would have the business sense to be part of the renaissance & let people try some great Whiskeys.

  4. Hi Brian, Garret and Michael, Many thanks for your interesting feedback which seems to support my theory?
    The good news as you can see from my latest blog post yesterday is that some bars and restaurant owners in Ireland (and particularly in Galway) are identifying and exploiting the opportunities in the global resurgence of Irish whiskey.
    The Parknasilla example is not new to me. My own family are regular guests there and were told by a staff member a few years ago that as many of their guests are American, the bar is full of high end Scotch as that is what the guests know and want. So the hotels play safe and just give them what they want by creating an American bar in Ireland. The hotels will tell me that they will stock premium Irish Whiskey when the guests demand it, but if the guest don’t always know enough about Irish whiskey, they won’t look for it. It’s chicken and egg stuff
    But imagine if high end hotels such as Parknasilla created a simple “Irish Whiskey List” based on our Irish Whiskey Pooka Scale at Straight away, you have something very high end and very Irish to add value to your guests experience. We are further developing the Pooka Scale project as an Irish Whiskey education tool in coming weeks. My plan is to develop a simple info-graphic that can be used to explain Irish whiskey forms, styles and structure to Irish whiskey beginners be they bar staff, tourists or even new whiskey drinkers.
    If our tourism guests are introduced for the first time to Irish Whiskey while on holiday, they’ll buy more in airport duty free and before you know it we have a new life time Irish Whiskey convert!
    Thanks again for the great comments and feedback and welcome to!

    Kind regards, Stuart

  5. Please note that Parknasilla Resort & spa has an Irish Whiskey menu in place offering a variety of Irish whiskeys – the Scotch Whiskeys appear on our Drinks menu – the Irish Whiskey menu is separate from it – a copy can be found online for your perusal – – please feel free to contact me should you require any additional information – Thank You!

  6. Thank you very much for that clarification. I have tried to contact you without success. I’d be delighted to offer Parknasilla Resort and Spa a free VIP Listing on our new Irish Whiskey Tourism site which will be launched in coming weeks. If interested, please see for application form and my contact details.

    Kind regards,


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