Stuart McNamara reviews the new Irish Whiskey Magazine
While at home in Ireland for a few days over Christmas, I was delighted to confirm rumours of the presence of a new Irish Whiskey magazine called appropriately enough, Irish Whiskey Magazine.
Although living and working abroad for the last year, I had seen some mention of the Irish Whiskey Magazine project on social media but was not sure if it was in production or just talk. I expected to find a slimline production with the usual predictable advertorial type stories which unfortunately are all too common these days in the world of whiskey and whisky marketing.
To say that I was amazed at the quality and structure of the new Irish Whiskey magazine would be an understatement. This is a high-quality production which can easily pass muster on the shelves beside the well-known international gardening, motoring and boating magazines normally seen as UK or US imports on the shelves of Irish Newsagents.
As luck would have, it I managed to meet up with the editor of Irish Whiskey magazine Serghios Florides as I passed briefly through Dublin on my week at home.
Serghios is one of a small and exclusive band of Irish Whiskey Aficionado Brothers and Sisters who have been quietly working over the last few years (before it became fashionable) to support and encourage the Irish Whiskey Renaissance.
All have been spreading the word and enhancing the reputation of Irish Whiskey around the world through blogging, social media and running of self-funded tasting and educational events, at home and abroad; often with little thanks or recognition from the marketing suits behind the scenes in the Irish Whiskey industry.
We are a small band of less than a dozen Irish based whiskey bloggers and enthusiasts and mainly do it for love rather than recognition. We all know each other for several years and as any keen observer of Irish Whiskey in Social Media will note, there is a great spirit of mutual support and respect amongst this tight little group for each other’s’ work and efforts. I should acknowledge that the catalysts for occasionally bringing both ourselves and our international whiskey writer colleagues together in person, rather than just online, are often the wonderfully organised and regular (blogger-only focussed) press visits to product launches and events by the few Irish Whiskey companies who “get” blogging and social media. I won’t mention by name, the individual key leaders from the industry who have become our trusted contacts, but I am happy to say that the likes of the Irish Distillers Masters, Tullamore DEW (JQ), Hyde Whiskey and West Cork Distillers are to the fore in hosting semi-regular get togethers and events which allow the Irish Whiskey Writing Gang to keep in touch.
Great therefore to see several members of the established Irish Whiskey Writing community actively supporting Serghios and Irish Whiskey Magazine team. Greater still to see some interesting new Irish Whiskey writing talent showcased in the first addition.
I must say that the production values in the new magazine are excellent. Some of the corporate profile articles are a little contrived and predictable, but to quote Hugh Grant in Notting Hill, “The readers of ‘Horse and Hound’ will be absolutely delighted”.
However, there are excellent non corporate articles on Women and Whiskey, Mixology, Irish Whiskey Tourism / Irish Whiskey Trail and a nicely formatted ‘chalk and cheese’ tasting article with very contrasting opinions by two Irish whiskey aficionados on various whiskey samplings. There is also a great interview with the outgoing President of the Irish Whiskey Society Peter White.
I particularly like the content, layout and structure of the newsy bits on the first few pages covering Irish Whiskey News and Events.
Quibbles? Just a few and mentioned here by me in a spirit of friendly support rather than criticism. Two excellent whiskey history articles are closer to being academic papers rather than magazine articles and maybe a bit too long for a magazine such as this. The layout of some of the articles in terrific while others are quite confusing. This is not helped by a small amount of page padding with one page teaser promos for articles elsewhere in the magazine. But these are just teething issues common to any new publication as it finds its true style and audience over the first few issues.
There is quite a lot of full page advertising but such is the production quality, that the ads enhance rather than detract from the artistic feel of the magazine and the overall reading experience.
Advertising support from the Irish Whiskey industry and a fair commercial price paid by the advertisers for their ads is what ultimately will secure the future of excellent publications such as this. I sincerely hope that the people holding the purse strings in Irish Whiskey Distilleries see the project as a long-term investment and are generous rather than business-like with their financial support, especially in supporting the production of these critical early issues.
I’d suggest that someone like the Irish Whiskey Association should coordinate a magazine support group of the wealthier distilleries with ring fenced financial support of the magazine for the critical first six issues. I would see this as not alone an investment in the new magazine, but a key investment in marketing the greater Irish Whiskey sector worldwide.I am sure that the industry could also be of great assistance in distribution of the early month’s issues by buying issues in bulk for free distribution as marketing material by the network of Global Ambassadors around the world. Just some ideas!
The Irish Whiskey Magazine is a fantastic achievement by Serghios and his team and a super addition and asset to the world of Irish Whiskey. Here in IrishWhiskey.Com and WhiskeyWriter.com, we are delighted to support Serghios in any way we can.
To find out more or subscribe to the magazine, go to http://IrishWhiskeyMagazine.com