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Jameson Caskmates Brings Whiskey And Stout Together

Caskmates (Issue 21)

It’s not an unusual practice for people to round out the potency, inspiration and fire of whiskey with beer. From the classic shot of whiskey and a beer chaser sometimes favored by drinkers to distillers using ex-beer barrels to add a soft, ale-like vignette to their whiskey, the idea has been around.

But a microbrewery and distillery within 12 miles of each other in Cork, Ireland have come up with a new and engaging approach. Shane Long, the head brewer at Franciscan Well Brewery created an imperial stout conditioned in barrels previously used to age Jameson Irish Whiskey. The barrels were then returned to Dave Quinn at Jameson Distillery, where Jameson was added back into the barrels.

The result is what has been branded Caskmates and an entirely new approach to whiskey, which in this case includes a touch of hops in the aftertaste. Not only is the triple-distilled whiskey smooth with its nose of fruit, there are notes of cocoa and a touch of coffee roastiness followed by a faint aftertaste of hops.

Both the Premium Stout of Franciscan Well and the follow-up of Caskmates were well received in Ireland. The whiskey is already in distribution in the U.S. and Jameson is encouraging the future arrival of the Premium Stout to the U.S. as well.

“Beer and whiskey go well together,” said Patrick Caulfield, the senior brand manager of Jameson, “but the beauty of this whiskey is that it wasn’t planned out from a long term perspective. It really was down to a close relationship between Dave and Shane that it became something we needed to bring to our consumers.”



Shane Long, head brewer at Franciscan Well, and Dave Quinn, Head of Whiskey Science at Jameson enjoy a glass of Caskmates.


On the other hand, Jameson has long been using a variety of barrels to create its whiskeys. “We age Jameson whiskeys in port, sherry and bourbon barrels,” said Caulfield, “but the beer barrel was born out of a conversation.”

Caulfield himself is from Dublin and is now working in New York, which gives him a unique perspective on the discovery trend in both the beer and spirits market. “Today’s world is all about people discovering something different and new,” he said. “It allows Jameson to do something relevant. It’s amazing since I arrived in the U.S. four years ago just how much people’s sense of discovery and the repertoire of brands, whether it’s whiskey or beer, has evolved massively.”

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