All of our favorite things are disappearing. In the middle of everyone rediscovering how much they love Irish whiskey, John Teeling, a major player in the current Irish whiskey boom, announced that the country is running out of the good stuff.
“Soon there will be a shortage of Irish whiskey,” Teeling told the Irish Times. “What we are making now, you won’t sell for seven years. So we will have a shortage if the rate of growth continues at a cumulative rate over the next six or seven years.”
If this sounds familiar, it’s because Irish whiskey is just the latest liquor to face hard times. An agave shortage is impacting tequila, and Japanese whisky distillers have had to cut back on the amount produced as well. Ireland’s problem is similar to what’s happening in Japan. A good chunk of the aged stuff has already sold and there’s nothing to replace it yet. There’s lots of whiskey sitting in casks and aging at the moment, but that won’t be ready for years. Distillers would have had to have predicted the current popularity of Irish whiskey a decade ago in order to meet what people are drinking now.
The speed at which people around the world are downing Ireland’s spirit is impressive, to say the least. Sales are growing 10 percent every year in more than 75 countries, Irish Times reports. There are now 18 distilleries in Ireland, many of them popping up in the last decade. That could be the one saving grace for the Irish whiskey market as a whole, a spokesperson for the Irish Whiskey Association says.
“Over the next two years, a lot of those newer distilleries will have matured liquid coming onto the market for the first time,” the spokesperson told Irish Times. “This is in addition to existing distilleries ramping up production.”
So, like with tequila and Japanese whisky, the only thing to do is to enjoy it while it’s here and sit tight for more to come in the future.