This article was written by Samuel Phineas Upham
John Jameson purchased the Bow Street Distillery in Ireland in the year 1780. It was a decent sized distillery, producing 30,000 gallons per year, but Jameson managed to grow that number to 1,000,000 by the turn of the century.
Dublin, in part thanks to Jameson, became the center of the whiskey industry worldwide in 1805. It grew in popularity, becoming the second most favored spirit in the world past rum. Ireland went through a temperance movement, and then the War for Independence, which significantly cut into the growth Jameson experienced. The company couldn’t export its whiskey to the Commonwealth, and the passing of prohibition in the US meant they couldn’t sell there either. Almost a century of growth hampered by politics.
Then the Scots came along and developed a column still to distill their own version of whiskey. This increased and cheapened production, to a point where Ireland had a tough time competing. Some of the Scottish brands were also gaining recognition, further eroding the customer base for whiskey.
Today, the original Jameson facility is a tourist attraction. The company merged with Cork Distillers and John Powers in 1966, creating a much larger facility in the process. There are many brands of Jameson, and you can commonly find the whiskey aged either 12 or 18 years. It is still one of the most recognized brands of Irish whiskey in the world, and the Rarest Reserve brand is one of the most highly-rated whiskeys in the world.
About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Samuel Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his Twitter page.