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Competition press releases

Legendary Dark Silkie Irish Whiskey Awarded Best Irish Blended Whiskey at San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Donegal-based Sliabh Liag Distillers continue to make waves across the Atlantic with their distinctive spirits. This week, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition awarded the Legendary Dark Silkie Irish Whiskey a double gold medal and named it the Best Irish Blended Whiskey. An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin was also awarded a gold medal in the prestigious awards, which recognised Sliabh Liag Distillers in every category that it entered.

James Doherty, one of the directors of Sliabh Liag Distillers, says it is an honour to be recognised at an international level: “It’s fantastic to be acknowledged among some of the best spirits in the world. We were particularly delighted that Dark Silkie was awarded the best Irish blended whiskey. We’re getting a great reaction to our blend of double distilled single malt and triple distilled peated single malt with soft grain whiskey; and we are having fun capturing the sweet smoky flavours of the whiskeys produced in Donegal in years gone by.”

“Peated Irish whiskey was almost lost during a period of distillery closures and industrialisation in the early 20th century” James added. “It’s the style that rural communities, particularly in Ulster, would have produced and it’s great to see the depth and diversity of Irish whiskey being celebrated. In resurrecting this style of whiskey and reclaiming the distilling heritage of Donegal, we are excited that people in the US and around the world get to come on this journey with us through our spirits.”

Dave Wood is Sliabh Liag’s sales director for Ireland and the Americas, and he says the response has been exceptional: “The Silkie Irish Whiskeys have been building great momentum both here and in the USA, and the recognition of our smoky style of whiskeys by the world’s most prestigious spirits competition reflects the demand for diverse flavour profiles in the Irish Whiskey category. The unique flavour and design of An Dúlamán is also being highlighted both here and in our international markets, there is a high demand for a savoury gin that has such a strong sense of identity, while gin sales in Ireland are slowing down, An Dúlamán is performing better than ever, and we expect that to continue with the reopening of the hospitality sector.”

This latest accolade for Dark Silkie comes shortly after The Legendary Silkie Irish Whiskey, the original blend in the collection, was named as Best Irish Blended Whiskey at the World Whiskeys Awards 2021, making the Silkie brand a true standout in the Irish Whiskey category. 

An increased demand for the distillery’s award-winning spirits has resulted in new employment, with four new team members in Carrick to support the continuing expansion of the distillery’s export markets, which currently covers 26 countries. 

Another major milestone for the business is the opening of its new whiskey distillery in Ardara on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way with plans to be in production in the autumn. The new distillery will increase the company’s production capacity to 500,000 litres of alcohol per annum with room for expansion, in anticipation of growing international demand, and employ up to 50 people. 

Accompanying the renaissance of the depth and diversity in Irish whiskey, is a resurgence of whiskey tourism, and in time, the site at Ardara will feature tiered levels of tours that will take visitors through the distillery, the distilling process, the history of whiskey and local poitín-making, alongside the heritage of the area. See www.sliabhliagdistillers.com