A distillery in Cork is offering a peer-to-peer mentoring, innovation and support programme to new entrants to the Irish whiskey market.

Irish Distillers at Midleton Distillery hosted a major workshop to mark the launch of the Irish Whiskey Association’s (IWA) new ‘The Knowledge Still’ programme.

In the last five years, 16 new distilleries have opened in Ireland and a further 29 are in planning or development stage. In this time, the IWA has worked closely with its member distilleries to provide mentoring and support for new entrants to the market.

The ‘Knowledge Still’ programme builds on this work, offering new entrants a structured programme of workshops, seminars and one-to-one support from experienced distillers and industry experts on a range of topics including best practice distilling, innovation in distilling and blending, and health and safety management.

The programme seeks to ensure that all Irish whiskey producers, particularly these recent entrants to the market, have access to expert knowledge and guidance from experienced mentors in the industry.

“Irish whiskey has witnessed a truly global renaissance in the last decade. Much of this success can be attributed to the exceptional craftsmanship, product innovation and unrelenting ambition of Ireland’s distillers,” said Brian Nation, master distiller at Irish Distillers.

As the category continues to evolve, we want to make sure we support one another and build on the high standards and innovative thinking that has served the sector so well to date.

“We are excited to open the doors to our Midleton Distillery and welcome our peers from 14 distilleries across the country. We are particularly looking forward to welcoming some of the newer entrants to the market. Their passion for their product and entrepreneurial spirit is truly infectious and reinforces our own ambition for the sector.”

Irish whiskey is the fastest-growing spirits category in the world.

9.7 million bottles of Irish whiskey were sold internationally in 2017, a 10.6% increase on the previous year.

“Protecting the high standards of the Irish whiskey industry and promoting innovation is key to the future success of the category,” said William Lavelle, Head of the IWA.

“Our main goal is to protect and pass on the high-quality standards which have become a hallmark for Irish whiskey.

The Knowledge Still programme will ensure that all distillers and producers, both new and established, are following standards of best practice and producing a high-quality Irish whiskey product.

“The Irish whiskey industry is already a world leader when it comes to supporting new entrants, and the introduction of this structured programme will only further cement this leadership position.

“Our growing global consumer base can be assured of more exciting developments in the Irish whiskey category for years to come.”

This article originally appeared on Breaking News