The Beginning

It all started in 1776, when the McConnell family of Belfast began selling their whisky to the public. It quickly became one of the most sought-after spirits in Ireland, and to keep up with demand, the McConnells built a distillery: a sprawling, buzzing compound on the banks of the River Lagan. The next 154 years would be spent dedicated to a single pursuit: producing the finest whisky in all of Ireland. Many whisky drinkers believed that they achieved their goal, making McConnell’s the most famous Irish whisky of the time.

But what about that “e “? Back in the 1900’s, adding the “e” was a way for Irelands distillers to differentiate themselves however McConnell’s, already an iconic brand with 125 years of production, decided to keep with tradition – no “e” in whisky, Slainte!

The Blaze

After more than a century atop the Irish whisky world, disaster struck. On April 20th of 1909, a terrible fire consumed the distillery. More than 500,000 gallons of McConnell’s whisky went up in flames that fateful day, and by the time it was over, half the distillery lay in ruins.

Reconstruction

Undaunted, they began to rebuild. Before long the distillery was back to full strength, and McConnell’s reclaimed its place as one of the top whiskies in the world.

Prohibition

Then, another calamity. This time it wasn’t a fire. It was something even more dangerous for a whisky maker: Prohibition, which outlawed the sale of liquor in America. In the blink of an eye, the biggest international market for Irish whisky was gone. More than 90 percent of Irish whiskies disappeared as a result – McConnell’s among them.

The Legacy

In the decades that followed, McConnell’s lived on only as a memory, a legendary whisky from another time. McConnell’s memorabilia still adorned the walls of pubs across Ireland, and occasionally a bottle would sell at auction – for an enormous sum. But for all intents and purposes, McConnell’s was gone. The world had lost one of its great spirits.

Until now.

The Comeback

Presenting one of the newest – and oldest – names in Irish whisky: J+J McConnell’s. Reborn after 90 years for a new generation of whisky enthusiasts, it is, quite possibly, the greatest comeback in the history of whisky. Take one sip and you’ll know: some things are worth the wait.

Sláinte!