Not long ago, nearly every drop of Irish whiskey was made in one of four distilleries. Four! That’s half as many as there are in Montana alone. The long story of how things got this way is the stuff of Irish ballads — politics, wars, emigration, Prohibition, and some strong-arm consolidation by megabrands Jameson and Bushmills. Today a dozen or so whiskey mills are upending that hegemony, though, and cities from Dingle to Dublin have new distilleries for the first time in a generation. It will take a while for some of the offerings to mature — Irish whiskey gets its unmistakable charm from years of oak-barrel aging — but there are already some new blends from old stocks and exceptional single malts hitting the U.S. Call it the luck of the Irish: There’s plenty of good stuff to drink while waiting on the even better yet to come.
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