Boost for master blender Alex Thomas as Bushmills named Irish whiskey to watch in US

Coleraine’s Alex Thomas, master blender at Old Bushmills, can look back on 2023 as another hugely successful year in the long and distinguished history of Northern Ireland’s most respected and successful brand.
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It was a year which saw the successful launch of the brand’s oldest single malt and the global strengthening of the company as a creator of rare and super-premium whiskeys.

The year ahead appears likely to be even busier, especially in the US, for the Causeway Coast whiskey expert, the blender behind so many award-winning releases from Bushmills and previously The Sexton, another US success story. Both Bushmills and The Sexton, which is also produced at the north coast distillery, are now controlled by Proximo, the New York distributor of a range of spirits.

Bushmills has also just been named one of just three Irish whiskeys to watch in 2024 by an influential magazine for men in the US, the most important and fastest growing

Alex Thomson, master blender at Old Bushmills – Irish whiskey to watch in 2024. Credit Bushmills WhiskeyAlex Thomson, master blender at Old Bushmills – Irish whiskey to watch in 2024. Credit Bushmills Whiskey
Alex Thomson, master blender at Old Bushmills – Irish whiskey to watch in 2024. Credit Bushmills Whiskey

market for the iconic company.

Northern Ireland’s leading and globally recognised whiskey brand was named alongside Waterford and Powerscourt by the influential Men’s Journal on the basis of a stellar performance in sales and innovation in 2023. The respected magazine says Bushmills “made huge strides in 2023, selling more than one million cases for the first time, and opening the £37 million Causeway Distillery that increased production from five million litres of alcohol per annum to 11 million litres”.

It continues: “Bushmills has the history and inventory, and now the capacity to make an even bigger mark on Irish whiskey in the years to come”. The whiskey had clearly enhanced its position as a major innovator in the Irish whiskey category especially in terms of high-value single malts. Bushmills had previously been sign posted by the magazine as the ‘Best Single Malt’ for its 12-year-old spirit.

Referring to the latest release, Alex says: “To be master blender is a profound honour but to be the one to release such an exquisite and rare 44-year-old Single Malt for Bushmills is what dreams are made of.

Alex Thomson, master blender at Old Bushmills – Irish whiskey to watch in 2024. Credit Bradley QuinnAlex Thomson, master blender at Old Bushmills – Irish whiskey to watch in 2024. Credit Bradley Quinn
Alex Thomson, master blender at Old Bushmills – Irish whiskey to watch in 2024. Credit Bradley Quinn

“The 44-year-old single malt truly epitomises Bushmills passion for ‘restless progress’ and the brand’s unwavering commitment to delight consumers with exceptional prestige single malts aged in the rarest hand-selected casks from across the world,” she adds.

Men’s Journal says Irish whiskey continues “to experience steady growth globally, thanks to new international markets, a heightened focus on luxury, and the category’s ability to innovate”.

Bushmills has also won widespread acclaim last year for its stunning Causeway Collection of exceptional single malt whiskeys. This rare whiskey marks a momentous milestone as the oldest ever single malt released by Bushmills, the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery. It was produced in association with Dubai Duty Free, one of the most dynamic airport shops, which is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Reflecting the shared commitment to excellence between Old Bushmills and Dubai Duty Free 40th anniversary, this extremely limited edition of only 40 bottles will be available exclusively for purchase at the airport in the affluent United Arab Emirates and priced at a princely $12,000.