Interview with Stephen Teeling of Teeling Whiskey

Team Teeling - Stephen (left) and Jack
Finding a bit of that luck o’ the Irish last week, I had the opportunity to FaceTime with Stephen Teeling of Teeling Whiskey Co. With a glowing passion for Irish whiskey, Stephen offered some fascinating history of the spirit, a background of his family’s involvement, and some intriguing thoughts on the industry and where it’s headed.

The Teeling family traces their roots in the whiskey biz back to the late 1700s when Walter Teeling worked at a craft distillery in downtown Dublin - so they’ve been around a while. Early on, Ireland saw major success, accounting for more than half the world’s whiskey market. Unfortunately, due to technology innovations and a bad rap from Prohibition, the Irish whiskey industry saw that number ultimately drop to about 1%, forcing many of the distilleries to merge in an effort to keep above water.

With a global whiskey boom after the turn of the millennium, the Teelings saw an opportunity to take advantage and rebrand themselves. In 2012, Stephen’s father John sold Cooley Distillery to Beam Suntory for a decent chunk of quid. He added a stipulation to the contract that allowed the Teelings to purchase back 60,000 barrels of aging whiskey. With this supply in their back pocket, they unveiled plans to bring the first new Irish whiskey distillery to Dublin in over a hundred years.

Acknowledging the David-Goliath battle with major distilleries, Teeling Whiskey’s focus is on risk-taking and experimentation, especially in mashbills and aging methods. Check out the video clip below for more of the interview. We think it’s amazing what Stephen and his brother Jack are doing and wish them the best of luck!