Whiskey making is not exclusive to distilleries.  Many of the well known and most popular brands come from independent companies.  Whiskey bonders flourished in 19th century Ireland.  Bonders would purchase barrels directly from the distilleries then age, blend, bottle, and sell under their own name.  The purchaser can put their own unique spin on making whiskey by using different cask finishes, cutting with their own water source at varying abv levels, and/or blending and aging to their own criteria.  The popular Spot range of Irish whiskies were originally produced in this manner by wine merchant Mitchell & Son.  Some companies "source" whiskey from distilleries through a contract that spells out exact specifications or through single cask purchases to be released under private label.  In some cases, these companies engage in this process while their own distilleries are being built or whiskey comes of age.  Others never intend to build a distillery.  In either case, the bonding and bottling processes implemented by these companies allow for greater creativity and diversity to emerge within the Irish whiskey industry.

 

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