Irish whiskey is a growing category in The Netherlands and it’s a style that the Dutch are starting to acquire a taste for, so little surprise then that my recent visit to The Netherlands proved so successful. During a ten-day trip with our Dutch partners Illva Saronno I visited bars and hotels in The Hague, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Breda, Nijmegen and Groningen to name a few. We did dozens of tastings and masterclasses throughout the trip as we whizzed around the land of windmills, tulips, canals and bikes.
Groningen, a beautiful old university city with a thriving bar and whiskey scene, played host to our first whiskey show. The striking De Aa-kerk Church providing a stunning backdrop. It was my second time to the fair and I was excited to see how it has developed and to see the response to our brands and I wasn’t disappointed – many of the attendees came back at the end of the session to tell me our whiskeys were their favourite from the entire show and in particular The Irishman Single Malt which was the all-round favourite.
During the week, I worked with the sales team and we called to dozens of great accounts including the prestigious W and Dylan hotels. One of the standouts was a masterclass and tasting we had in a new, high-end cocktail bar in Amsterdam called Rosalia’s Menagerie, a very cool cocktail bar in a small boutique hotel by the canals. A large group made up of some of the top bartenders and mixologists from some of Amsterdam’s best hotels, cocktail bars and upmarket bars attended. We tasted the range and the response was phenomenal, with this influential and trend-setting group describing our whiskeys as very elegant and delicate.
The final stop on this trip was to Leiden for the 2017 Leiden Whiskey show in the huge Pieterskerkhof church. This was my first time at this show; it’s a growing show in this scenic old city and again it didn’t disappoint. Once again, The Irishman Single Malt was the overall favourite and a real crowd pleaser in this fully sold out show.
The future is very bright for Walsh Whiskey Distillery in the Netherlands where we continue to build our fan base and I am already looking to my next trip in November. As the Dutch would say “Proost”!