2022 was quite a year for the Irish Whiskey Society America. After two disruptive years from COVID related issues, the IWSA accomplished a lot during 2022. Membership in our Irish whiskey club grew 20% and the IWSA now has members in 40 states plus the District of Columbia! A goal for 2023 is to gain membership in the remaining 10 states. Has anyone moved to (AK, AR, HI, IA, MS, ND, NM, SD, UT, WY) since joining? Or does anyone have a friend or family member living in one of these 10 states? Let's work together in 2023 to spread membership across all 50 states so we can more completely say "Celebrating Irish Whiskey in the USA".
Virtual events continued while we announced the release of our first Irish whiskey bottling, distillery cask, and inaugural awards The Izzys! The industry continued its strong resurgence with new producers coming online, new whiskeys released, and the re-opening of pubs and distilleries in Ireland for visitors.
Just in time for Saint Patrick's Day, the IWSA released its first collaborative bottling in February. The Limited Edition 10 year premium blend was created to commemorate the IWSA's 10 year anniversary. Made available to IWSA members through online purchase channels and select retailers, we are proud of our collaboration with the IrishAmerican brand and Achill Distillery in County Mayo. Read about all the details on our website here.
IWSA MEMBER BENEFITS
During 2022, we made many enhancements to the benefits lifetime members receive. New member discounts, new member store items, our new monthly newsletter, and WhatsApp group were several highlights this year.
New IWSA logo items for the store included an embroidered tee shirt, sweatshirt, and jacket along with bar cocktail sets and Irish coffee glasses. Check out all the items available in the exclusive member store here.
Communication was greatly enhanced during 2022. The monthly newsletter keeps all members abreast of club events and news along with our monthly cocktail, Irish whiskey news, pub, and store. The IWSA Newsletter is emailed mid-month to all members at the email address on file. If you are not seeing it please check your spam folder and/or ensure we have your correct current email address. You can see all past newsletters on the website here.
All members were invited to join the WhatsApp group chat to communicate directly with each other. During the year, members participating shared new purchases, what they were drinking, as well as discussion about trips to Ireland and questions about whiskey. We encourage everyone to join. Contact us here and request the invite link to join the conversation.
IRISH WHISKEY RELEASES
Dozens of new Irish whiskey releases dotted the calendar during 2022. Established brands came out with new varieties, the re-emergence of peated offerings continued, and burgeoning distilleries launched their initial releases.
Above are some highlights of 2022 releases not yet available in the USA; however, they can be purchased through online retailers for shipment to the USA (use your IWSA member discounts!)
A few of the new releases (below) made their way to the USA during 2022 and are available in local retailers.
Expect more brands to become available in the USA in 2023. One of the most anticipated is the upcoming release of Powers Irish Rye before Saint Patrick's Day!
During 2022, the IWSA announced the acquisition of our first Irish Distillery cask. From the Powerscourt Distillery in County Wicklow, the IWSA cask was filled in January 2019 and must age for ten years as part of their cask program. As part of the IWSA trip in 2023, a group will sample directly from the cask while visiting the distillery. Check out all the details on our website here.
The return of WhiskeyLive Dublin in 2022 was a highlight of the year. The first in- person convention to be held since 2019 due to COVID restrictions, the event shifted to June this year and moved to the RDS (Royal Dublin Society) in Ballsbridge. Over 100 exhibitors participated over the two day event to hundreds of happy Irish whiskey fans. New releases such as Gold Spot were introduced during the convention. The growth in popularity and participants has resulted in an expansion to four sessions for next year's WLD2023 which the IWSA will attend.
The IWSA hosted several virtual events for members during 2022. To celebrate our 10 year anniversary and the launch of our Limited Edition bottle we hosted a virtual toast for all members in September. Whether you purchased a bottle or not, we toasted our 10 years and discussed the Anniversary bottle release, our history as well as future plans. You can watch the video of the Anniversary Toast on our website or YouTube channel here.
To celebrate the acquisition of our Powerscourt Distillery cask we hosted a virtual tasting of the Fercullen whiskey lineup. The October event was a great chance to discuss the new distillery, our cask, member stories about Powerscourt, and our upcoming group trip next year. It was also a great opportunity for members to sample Irish whiskeys not yet available in the USA. You can watch the video of the tasting event on our website or YouTube channel here.
In November, we hosted a "Celebration of Powers" virtual event to discuss all things about the iconic brand. Open to all members, this Bring Your Own Powers event brought diehards and newbies together to hear about the history of Powers from Irish Distillers archivist Carol Quinn. Participating members shared stories along with the full range of Powers expressions. You can watch the tasting event video on our website or YouTube channel here.
In 2022, we launched the inaugural IWSA Awards or Izzys (iW-sAs). Nominations were tallied in November across 13 Irish whiskey related categories. Final voting for the top 3 nominees took place during December. The favorite in each category was announced in January and recorded here. A full list of the results and summary of the 2022 campaign can be reviewed on the website here.
Continuing our momentum, the IWSA already has many events planned for the first half of 2023. Two virtual tasting events, a new whiskey launch in February and a Bloomsday celebration in June, will bookend our IWSA group trip to Dublin in May. Stay tuned for updates on more IWSA news/events.