Every year Jameson hands over the reigns for its iconic bottle's label to an artist of note, to do something different and original in celebration of St. Patrick's Day.
It's a good time of the year for something different: while global sales have skyrocketed in recent years for the Irish whiskey category, St. Patrick's remains the biggest drinking occasion for the spirit worldwide.
So when you go out to grab a last minute bottle to celebrate, or for the next few weeks, you're going to see a different face on Jameson. And since you might need something to talk about in the late hours of passing the bottle back and forth across the bar, we thought you should know what you’re looking at.
The bottle design is the work of Dublin graffiti artist James Earley, whose work is heavily influenced by the stained glass his family created for over a century, much of which still catches the light around Dublin.
"There are many churches within the city center that people can experience Earley Studio windows," says Earley. "If you know where to look, there's a lot of them dotted around the city. Outside of Dublin there are plenty throughout Ireland, and then further afield, with works as far flung as South America and Australia."
James began painting his signature stained glass style in 2009. His family ran Earley Studios, a firm specializing in stained glass artworks. Based in the city centre of Dublin, the business ran from 1864 to 1975.
"When I began work on the limited edition bottle design," says Earley, "Jameson contacted me and sent me an open enough brief: What does Dublin mean to you?" The bottle Earley has designed for Jameson is a pastiche of architectural nods to Dublin and that stained-glass style Earley and his family populated the city with over the years.
Earley says he wanted to incorporate those architectural achievements into his story. "The bridges of Dublin have always fascinated me," he says. "Not only are they feats of engineering and things of aesthetic beauty, they also tell a tale of a city's development and growth over time. I associate certain bridges with different times in my life. For example, one of the bridges (Grattan Bridge) connects to Capel Street. On the street, there’s an old car accessories shop that I used to go to, to buy my paint when I was 16."
The spirit inside, of course, is the same as always. You're just enjoying a bit of extra Irish culture with it — a special moment in Jameson's long history that won't be around as long as some of the Earley family’s other works.
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