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Jameson is a single-distillery Irish whiskey. The brand is today owned by the French beverage conglomerate Pernod Ricard. Jameson is similar in its adherence to the single distillery principle to the single malt tradition, but Jameson combines malted barley with unmalted or "green" barley. The most famous component within Jameson is the legendary "Pure Pot Still" component unique to Irish whiskey distilling tradition.

The company was established in 1780 when John Jameson established the Bow Street Distillery in Dublinmarker. Originally one of the six main Dublin Whiskeys, Jameson is now distilled in Corkmarker, although vatting still takes place in Dublinmarker. With annual sales of over 31 million bottles, Jameson is by far the best selling Irish whiskey in the world, as it has been internationally since the early 1800s when John Jameson along with his son (also named John) was producing over a million gallons annually.

Company history

When John Jameson, a Scottish businessman, acquired the Bow Street Distillery in 1780, it was producing about 30,000 gallons annually. By the turn of the century, it was the second largest producer in Ireland and one of the largest in the world, producing a million gallons annually. Dublin at the time was the epicentre of world whiskey production. It was the second most popular spirit in the world after rum, and internationally Jameson had, by 1805, become the world's number one whiskey. Today, Jameson is the third largest Single Distillery Whiskey in the world.Historical events, for a time, set the company back. The temperance movement in Irelandmarker had an enormous impact domestically but the two key events that affected Jameson internationally were the Irish war of Independence and subsequent trade war with the British which denied Jameson the export markets of the Commonwealth, and shortly thereafter, the introduction of prohibition in the United States. While Scottish brands could easily slip across the Canadian border, Jameson was excluded from its biggest market for many years.It was also a fact that the introduction of basic grain whiskey production using column stills by the Scottish blenders in the mid 1800s enabled them to produce vast amounts of almost neutral flavoured components for blending with some malt whiskey. This enabled them to create low cost blends that the Irish, still using the original Pure Pot Still technique could not compete with. This differing opinion of what a true whiskey consisted of culminated in a legal enquiry in 1908. It was a huge turning point in the history of whiskey. The Scottish blenders won the case and the blend became recognised in law as being whiskey. The Irish in general and Jameson in particular stubbornly continued with the traditional Pure Pot Still production process for many years and, to this day, a large proportion of Jameson is still composed of Pure Pot Still component. Jameson also produces a special limited edition Pure Pot Still Whiskey, Redbreast to celebrate the ancient Irish whiskey making craft.

In 1966 John Jameson joined forces with their rivals the Cork Distillers company and John Powers to form the Irish Distillers Group. The new Midleton distillerymarker built by Irish Distillers now produces most of the Irish whiskey sold in Ireland. The new facility adjoins the old one, which is now a tourist attraction.

Historical pot still at the Jameson distillery in Cork
The Jameson brand was acquired by French drinks conglomerate Pernod Ricard in 1988, when it bought Irish Distillers.


As well as Jameson Original, some other whiskeys are marketed under the Crews name. These are:

  • Crested Ten
  • Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve (Formerly known as Jameson 1780)
  • Jameson 12 Year Old Distillery Reserve. Only sold in Dublin's Jameson old distillery
  • Jameson Gold Reserve (the only expression of Jameson that uses virgin American oak).
  • Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve
  • Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve (Jameson's oldest and rarest components).
  • Jameson Signature Reserve.
  • Midleton Very Rare 80 Proof

Making Irish whiskey

Jameson Irish whiskey is produced from a mixture of malted and unmalted or "green" Irish barley, all sourced from within a fifty mile radius around the distillery in Corkmarker. The barley is dried in a closed kiln fired by clean-burning anthracite coal to preserve its flavour. Like most Irish whiskey, Jameson is triple distilled for optimum smoothness. The philosophy is balance, ensuring that no one flavour element overpowers another. The end result is a sweet-tasting whiskey.

By the early 1800s, the distillery was producing one million gallons (3,785,412 litres) of whiskey per year and had grown to be the largest in the world. The production has now moved to the Midleton distillery and the Bow Street site is currently a museum and visitors centre. Jameson is made following the original 1780 recipe that uses malted barley combined with unmalted barley and other grains. It is distilled three times in copper pot stills to create its famous smoothness and flavour. Jameson sells a staggering 30 million bottles a year around the world, making it by far the biggest selling Irish whiskey.

Recent milestones

  • 1995: Sales of Jameson topped 10 million bottles, helping Jameson into the Top 100 Spirit Brands by value.
  • 1996: Sales reach 1 million cases and Jameson is named the fastest growing spirit brand in the world.
  • 2004: Jameson is named the World's fastest growing whiskey brand.
  • 2006: Jameson sales reach 2 million cases.
  • June 2008: Jameson sales reach 2.6 million cases

See also



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