Years after one of the largest whiskey distilleries closed its gates, Roe & Co. created a contemporary blend of Irish Whiskey with George Roe in mind.
During the 19th century, George Roe & Co helped build the era of Irish whiskey. In 1929, they closed their gates for good, and all that remains of the distillery is a pear tree and windmill tower. Now Roe & Co. is helping to resurface the Irish Whiskey golden era. Located in the heart of Dublin, they are focused on creating whiskey with new and creative expressions.
We had the opportunity to speak with Master Blender, Caroline Martin, and Head Distiller Lora Hemy to learn more about their brand.
Master Blender: Caroline Martin
Talk to us about creating Roe & Co Irish Whiskey—What do you find inspirational about the brand?
Being approached to be the Master Blender for Roe & Co was very humbling but a bit daunting too because all my experience as a blender was using scotch whisky up until then. I was really excited about learning the sensory characteristics of Irish whiskey – malt, grain, and pot still. It took some time to be happy & proud of the Blended Irish Whiskey that is now Roe & Co – prototype number 106 was the one that shone out above all the others
In a quick one-two sentence, how would you describe Roe & Co. Whiskey to a bartender?
The most delicious, blended Irish whiskey – well matured in American oak, much is 1st fill bourbon casks giving soft, creamy, vanilla notes. There is an incredible depth of flavor – poached pears, autumnal apples, and lingering, warming spice. Non-chill filtered and at 45 % ABV. Drink it as you like it – neat, straight mixer or in a cocktail.
What else should bartenders know?
There is a Roe & Co Distillery & Visitor experience in Dublin 8 where they can see it all happening and experience Roe & Co whiskey options at the bar!
Talk to us a bit about the history and heritage of the brand.
Find it all out at the Roe & Co Distillery & Visitor experience in Dublin 8! You’ve got to go there…
What is the best way to enjoy Roe & Co. Whiskey?
My favorite so far is Roe & Co and Fever Tree Tonic, crushed ice, slice fresh lime – simple, yet amazing
Head Distiller: Lora Hemy
Tell us a bit about Roe & Co. Irish Whiskey.
Roe & Co. was launched in 2017, and our Master Blender Caroline Martin worked with bartenders here in Ireland to create our blend with versatility in mind. Roe and Co are named after George Roe, a key figure in the history of Irish whiskey. George Roe ran what was the largest distillery of its time in Ireland, very close to our own here in Dublin 8, until it closed in 1926. Whilst we take inspiration from the history of Irish whiskey, we are very much a contemporary brand and distillery with a focus on reinventing the future of Irish whiskey.
What do you think is important for bartenders to know about the brand?
Roe & Co is Irish whiskey made by bartenders for bartenders, and as such, bartenders will always be a key partner in telling the Roe & Co story to our communities. In the true spirit of collaboration and endurance, this vastly experienced team created a unique Blended Irish whiskey that would hold its own in cocktails and trialed it over 100 prototype blends before creating this truly extraordinary expression of Irish whiskey.
Talk to us about the production practices. How important is sustainability to the culture of the brand?
Our new distillery in Dublin has been in operation for almost two years, and we are focused on creating more delicious whiskey, including new expressions that utilize all the creative possibilities we have open to us in the distillery, which we built to be able to work with a range of different mash bills, spirit styles, and distillation techniques. Being an urban distillery and a new distillery, we considered sustainability from the ground up in the design and build process.
This has given us the opportunity to incorporate contemporary technology alongside a very traditional plant that allows us to minimize, for example, the amount of water we use in the process by the installation of fixed cooling loops. Technology like this has the added benefit of giving us even more process parameters to play with when managing our fermentations, which is very exciting. Within Diageo, Roe and Co. is part of a global that prioritizes sustainability, and we have committed to sustainability goals across all areas of the business.
Talk to us about the name and the packaging.
Our new whiskey, Roe & Co. has been named to honor George Roe, a pioneer of Irish whiskey. His distillery was situated in the heart of Dublin, beside the Guinness brewery at St James’s Gate, and was the largest in Europe before it closed.
Just like the whiskey, the pack whilst beautiful on the surface, reveal hidden details. A pear shape hidden in the punt pays tribute to the pear tree that still flowers today at the base of the St. Patricks Tower; the teal color is a tribute to the weathered copper of the tower’s cupola and a nod to design codes of Irish whiskeys in their heyday.
Tell us about the brand’s versatility and mixability.
Roe and Co. was designed in collaboration with bartenders to ensure that the whiskey retained maximum character, whether sipped on its own or in a mixed drink. The combination of first-fill and refill American oak casks we use build layers of vanilla, fruit, and spice into the whiskeys, and we don’t use chill-filtration – this gives the whiskey a creamy texture, which we think is really important in creating a great drinking experience.
Want to try a cocktail from Roe & Co.?
- 1 1/2 oz. Roe & Co
- 3/4 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz. Sugar Syrup
- 1 Egg White (to make it vegan use instead 30ml Aquafaba)
- Rocks Glass
- Rock Ice
- Cocktail Shaker
- Strainer & Fine Strainer
Preparation: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake hard and double strain over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Add one of the following to the above recipe to get creative with your whiskey sour.
- 1 heaped tsp of good Jam or Marmalade
- The pulp of 1 Passionfruit
- 3 dashes of your favorite cocktail bitters