Jameson is the best-selling Irish Whiskey in the world and one of the best-selling whiskies, in general, in America. The whiskey is the first thing people typically think of when they think about “Irish Whiskey” and for good reason.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to spend a bit of time at both Jameson’s Cork and Dublin locations and learned a lot more about the brand.
While you might think you know a lot about Jameson, there are probably a number of things about the brand you had no idea about:
Whenever friends tell me they plan on visiting Jameson, they’re typically referring to its Dublin distillery. While you can definitely visit there (and it’s great), Jameson actually hasn’t been made there since 1976. All of its distillation is handled in Cork. That said, Jameson recently started aging whiskey at its Bow Street facility again, although the aging is limited to a special “Bow Street” version of the whiskey.
Jameson is known for being a great place to work, so much so that many of its employees work for the company their entire careers. Employees might gradually move to less labor-intensive jobs as they get older until eventually they’re working in a position that requires very little physical labor. For instance, someone who once built barrels might work the front gate as they get closer to retirement.
The motto on Jameson bottles, “Sine Metu” means “Without Fear.”
All the barley used to make Jameson is sourced locally, specifically from Southern Ireland whenever possible. To keep things local, the distillery has partnerships with a number of local farmers to buy their crops.
Some of Jameson’s iconic whiskey is aged in bourbon barrels that have been imported into Ireland from Kentucky.
If you wanted to buy a bottle of Jameson you would have been SOL until 1968, at least a bottle as we currently know it. The spirit was only sold in cask form until then. That said, you could score a bottle for home from your local bar. It would just be bottled on-site from your neighborhood watering hole rather than at Jameson’s distillery.
Despite having a name that is synonymous with Ireland these days, John Jameson was actually born in Scotland in 1740.
Rebels occupied Jameson’s Bow Street Distillery in April 1916 during Easter Rising. Despite the fact that many couldn’t make it to work during the rebellion, Jameson still paid its employees, something unheard of at the time.
He’s known for his distillery, but John Jameson was actually a trained lawyer.
Jameson makes a lot of whiskey. While it’s whiskey is certainly popular in its home of Ireland, 90% of the whiskey the distillery produces is actually exported to other countries.