11 March 2019

Whisky Insiders Interview No. 94 - Louise McGuane

JJ Corry Irish Whiskey

Founder & CEO


How long have you been working in the whisk(e)y industry?
I’ve been working in the drinks industry over 20 years, but with whiskey specifically for about 12 years.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Quitting my job at Diageo and resurrecting the lost art of Irish Whiskey Bonding.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
Yes, the first one I vividly remember was Glenmorangie, when I was working for LVMH. We were at the Brand Home in the great hall, surrounded by African hunting trophies listening to the history of the place. An incredible moment.

What does whisk(e)y mean to you?
Whiskey is basically my entire life. As a whiskey entrepreneur running an independent start-up it can’t be any other way. It’s what I think of before I go to bed at night, it’s what I dream about when I’m asleep and it’s the first thing on my mind when I wake up. It’s a total obsession.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
I’d like to have four or five rack house’s full of maturing whiskey on the farm, an expanded blending room with lot more cool kit and a Napa Valley Style tasting room in my local village creating high quality employment locally. I also want to have expanded our global footprint to all the key markets where Irish Whiskey in in growth.

What was your last dram?
It was a 1991 sherry cask single malt - a very rare Irish whiskey, that I shared with some new customers.

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
In County Clare where we are based, we have some amazing food producers. We’ve played around with smoked salmon gravlax cured with new make and it’s pretty delicious. Best served up with soda bread heaped in locally made butter and a glass of The Gael.

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
Late night unwinding after a long day, sitting on the couch with my husband and my dog Ruby snuggled in.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
Irish will continue to rise and the new Independent distilleries emerging will begin doing really interesting things outside of the Technical File. The Highball serve will break out of Japan where it’s a powerhouse and become a lot more popular elsewhere. I think English Whiskey has a bright future too.

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
I have a 28 year old, sherry cask in my rack house on the farm. It’s one of the first casks we sourced, and I now consider it to be a very good friend of mine.  I honestly don’t think I am ever going to sell it, we will simply grow older together.

Many thanks to Louise McGuane. Who will be our next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!