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Grace O'Malley

Grace O’Malley Spirits founder Stephen Cope is a County Mayo native who grew up on the stories of the pirate queen of Ireland. It’s stories like hers that he wanted to tell with a brand of Irish spirits, but a meeting with Stefan Hansen and Hendrick Melle from Berlin-based investment company PPI led to the project accelerating in pace and refocusing ambition.

They formed Inis Tine Uisce Teoranta, which just a few short years later became the largest independent owners of stock in the industry with around 20,000 barrels to its name. The brand is also purchasing them at a rate of 10,000 a year and if you sold every drop now, it would be worth over £300m. The company doesn’t yet have a distillery, though one is on the way, but does own Good Spirits Bottling, a blending, bottling, and maturation facility in Dundalk.

It’s just 10 minutes from Great Northern Distillery, where all Grace O’Malley whiskey is currently made to a specific mash bill. From there it’s transferred to the Good Spirits Bottling facility, where master blender Paul Caris gets to work analysing and testing before picking the cask he deems perfect for that spirit. This same process is followed for another Inis Tine Uisce Teoranta brand, Proclamation, which is dedicated to the 1916 document that declared Ireland a republic.

Grace O’Malley is the first Irish whiskey named after a woman, a pretty shocking fact given it was launched in 2019. There’s one story about her, that we particularly like, that says she sailed up the Thames with a bottle of whiskey to negotiate the release of her son from Queen Elizabeth I. You could say that bottle was the first export of Irish whiskey…

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