For many tipplers, Irish whiskey was always “Jameson” and often seen as “shooting whiskey” versus a “sipping whiskey.” Earlier this year, the Distilled Spirits Council reported that Irish whiskey was the third fastest growing alcohol category by revenue and volume sales in the U.S., increasing from 16.3% or $185 million USD to an unprecedented $1.3 billion USD.
But with all due respect to Jameson, there’s an entire category to be explored. We hope you enjoyed our sneak peak in our August 19th Barrel Report Teeling Rising. For this month’s Women in Whiskey, meet Amy Chapman, Northern California Ambassador of Teeling Whiskey!
Q: What was your first experience drinking whiskey?
A: A good friend of mine introduced me to a simple shot of Jim Beam Bourbon and it was good.
Q: Share your professional background.
A: I began working in the industry 20 years ago in Riverside, California, at a family owned and operated tavern. I moved to the Bay Area where I continued bartending in iconic hotels, then opened a chef driven restaurant, and directed the beverage program for an exclusive members only space. From there, I’ve continued as a consultant, ambassador, and friend to premium spirits brands. Which brings us to my role with Teeling Irish Whiskey.
Q: Walk us through a typical day for you.
A: Every day is different. Typically, I’ll spend time corresponding with trade partners in my market as well as my colleagues locally and other Teeling Whiskey Ambassadors in the US. Later, I’ll visit accounts, plan events, conduct educational tastings and try to get home in time for dinner.
Q: Please share how you think the whiskey industry has evolved in the last decade?
A: I’m certain the whiskey industry is ever-evolving. From Kentucky to Northern California to Dublin, we have to talk about the changing world stage, when it comes to the world’s best whiskeys. The best part of my job is discovering new and interesting whiskey expressions. For me, this is the most exciting part of my job. I’m really passionate about sharing some of the incredibly innovative whiskeys that are coming out of our Dublin distillery, with my community. I’m proud to be part of the team who is reshaping the minds of consumers when it comes to Irish Whiskey and the incredible variety that is available today.
Q: What are your thoughts specifically on how people view Irish Whiskey today?
A: Most of the feedback I receive in the Bay Area is based on the fact that people like to drink Irish Whiskey because of its smooth character, meaning they are used to the category’s best known blends. For me, our Small Batch Whiskey is a great take on an Irish blend, finished in a rum cask to add a complexity and unexpected flavor that most Irish Whiskey fans don’t expect. Also – they are surprised when we share our award-winning Single Malts. My favorite is our 24-Year-Old Single Malt (World’s Best Single Malt 2019). This year, we released a delicious 30-Year-Old Single Malt. These unique, ultra aged and incredibly rare Single Malts best showcase how Teeling Whiskey is helping to change the way people think about Irish Whiskey.
Q: Who are some people in your life that have inspired you and also, people in the whiskey industry that you admire?
A: My father, he’s a retired carpenter with patience, artistry, and dedication for everything he builds. I certainly am grateful and admire his influence in my professional life. I’m inspired by Michelle Akers, an American soccer player who played professionally and internationally for decades, and always served as a role model and powerhouse on the field, even at the age when most consider an athletic career at an end.
Whiskey Industry: William Thomas Boothby, Amy Stuart, Adam Rogers, Jillian Vose, Jim Meehan, David Wondrich, and Dushan Zaric…to name a few.
Q: What do you like to drink?
A: I like to explore new brands. Personally, I enjoy Rye Whiskey and recently discovered an admiration for Pot Still Whiskey.
When not drinking whiskey, I like a 50/50 Gin Martini, with a dash of orange bitters and a lemon twist.
Q: What else should our readers know about you and any last thoughts?
I have a collection of vinyl record pressings that I enjoy listening to and sharing with friends, and I’m also an artist.
If you’re ever in the Bay Area, please look me up @A.L.Chapman. I love to serve Teeling cocktails and introduce folks to the best Irish Whiskey they have yet to taste.
While Teeling boasts to be the first distillery in Dublin in over 125 years, it’s not surprising given their history:
● 1782: Walter Teeling establishes his distillery in the Distilleries, the “Golden Triangle” of whiskeys in Dublin; later sold to William Jameson (related to that OTHER Jameson) then closed in 1923
● 1989 : Descendant John Teeling establishes Cooley Whiskey Distillery
● 2011-12: Distillery sold to Beam International; John’s sons, Jack and Stephen convince them to sell them 16,000 casks of aged whiskey to launch Teeling Whiskey
● 2015: Teeling Distillery opens to the public
● 2017: Minority stake sold to Bacardi
In addition to their flagship lineup, all triple distilled and non-chill filtered at 46% ABV
Mash bill: 95% corn, 5% malted barley; finished in French oak ex-Cabernet Sauvignon red wine casks from California
Mash bill: 100% malted barley; finished in five wine casks – Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon
Single Pot Still
Mash bill: 50% malted barley, 50% unmalted barley; finished in a combination of American virgin oak, ex-bourbon, and ex-Sherry casks
Single Malt Peated Blackpitts
Mash bill: 100% malted barley; finished 1/3 Sauternes French wine casks and 2/3 ex-bourbon casks
Smoke from peat is used to dry the barley during the malting process and its name comes from the area behind the current new Teeling Whiskey Distillery, in Newmarket, that was home to some of the largest barley malting houses in Ireland.
Their specialty expressions include
Small Batch: No more than 50 casks of grain and malt whiskey that are initially fully aged in ex-bourbon barrels and married together in Central American Rum casks for up to 12 months.
In addition to their vintage expressions (30 year) and Wonders of Wood series (see Barrel Report reference at beginning of article).
But no tasting can compare to visiting their Distillery. Crossing the parking lot, their iconic Phoenix greets you outside and inside where exhibits include information installs, painted brick, and even a Lego recreation. Display cases full of bottles abound and then the fun begins. Walking into the fully operational distillery, wooden engraved signs explain the process and even their pot stills tell you their names – Alison, Natalie, and Rebecca.
It was fun to sit at the long wooden tasting table with the cushy seating and Wilde/Shaw quotes, a few steps away from their whiskey bar and gift shop.
But if you can’t get to Dublin anytime soon, make yourself Amy’s favorite fall cocktail:
Teeling Irish Coffee
1 1/2 parts Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey
4 parts Local Coffee Roast (if you’re in the Bay Area, Red Bay’s medium roast)
1/2 part Demerara Syrup
1 Bar spoon Heavy cream
In a warmed glass, mix Teeling Whiskey, syrup, brewed coffee and stir to combine. Top with cream from the back of a bar spoon. Garnish with grated nutmeg.
Author’s [Fangirl] Note: #teamteeling
Picture it. Scotland. November 2015. A year after two passionate whisk(e)y enthusiasts start a global whiskey group, a corporate wonk pivoting to hospitality is wrapping up a Scotland trip and about to head to Ireland for a business meeting at a newly opened Irish distillery.
I was that corporate wonk and sadly Mother nature stranded me in Scotland, leaving me to taste my First Teeling on the way to US Customs at Dublin airport.
I absolutely confess to being a fan of Teeling not only for their amazing product but also due to the fact that they were open to meeting me when I was new to the industry, treat their employees and customers well, and continue to be open, communicative, and engaging as a company.
Special thanks to Stephen Teeling, Jody McLoughlin, Robert Caldwell, John Teeling (for the cameo on my tour), Amy Chapman and the rest of the team.
In homage to Teeling’s commitment to innovation we switched up the format with a “blend” of essay and a Q&A format with Amy.