Is Nothing Sacred? Gen Z Now Poisoning Irish Whiskey

    Igor Normann /
    Igor Normann /

    With members of Gen Z reaching the drinking age, they have slowly destroyed the drinking culture across the globe. While generations of Americans simply embraced the taste for what it is, and many even embraced it, the latest group of people coming of age hate the taste. Instead of coming up with clever mixes or even a new idea, they do what they do with everything else: add fake flavoring.

    American and Canadian companies like Crown Royal, Jack Daniels, and Knobb Creek have embraced the flavored whisky segment. Only doing so after seeing the popularity of companies like Absolut with their flavored vodka back in the 1990s, they took a calculated risk and emerged victorious. Despite the proof in their sales figures, Irish distilleries refused to be a part of the trend.

    As Lander Otegui, chief marketing officer for Proximo, the spirits company that owns Irish stalwarts Bushmills and Proper No. Twelve explained, it was a matter of pride. “Whiskey purists have talked about flavored whiskey as an overall challenge to the category and in a negative way because they think it kind of defeats the purpose of why you’re distilling high-quality liquid and then putting it into a barrel.”

    Now, companies like Jameson and Tullamore D.E.W. are racing to get a piece of the flavored whiskey pie. Making up 20% of all whiskey sales, this $1.5 billion niche drink is no longer something to poke fun at. Instead, distilleries are having to let go of their history to stay relevant. While many thought this would simply be a fad, it has emerged as a way to get people into drinking whiskey for the first time.