Bernard Walsh, the co-founder (with his wife Rosemary) of Walsh Whiskey, has been inducted to Whisky Magazine’s Hall of Fame in honour of his contribution to the whiskey industry at a gala dinner in London. The creator of Writers’ Tears and The Irishman whiskeys is just the third Irish whiskey founder to be honoured after John Teeling and the late Oliver Hughes. The Hall of Fame is reserved for people who have served at least 25 years in the industry and have made a significant contribution to the world of whiskey. Inductees are exclusively selected by Whisky Magazine’s editorial team with recommendations from industry experts.
One of the leading contributors to the global renaissance of Irish whiskey, Bernard Walsh is a farmer’s son from County Tipperary in Ireland. He and his wife Rosemary founded Walsh Whiskey in 1999, then producing an innovative Irish Coffee liqueur – The Hot Irishman. He subsequently went on to create The Irishman and Writers’ Tears super-premium Irish whiskeys.
The two award-winning whiskey portfolios offer a wide range of expressions in both the Pot Still (Writers’ Tears) and Single Malt (The Irishman) genres. They now comprise a portfolio of 23 super-premium whiskeys sold in over 50 countries worldwide.
Speaking at his induction in London, Bernard Walsh, said: “It is a great honour to be inducted into this august group. I accept it on behalf of everyone that I have worked alongside to get to where we are, especially my wife Rosemary. I am very grateful that the whiskey sector is such a collegiate sector and that the Irish category is in the early phases of its second golden age.”
One of Bernard’s proudest accomplishments was designing, building, and operating one of Ireland’s largest independent whiskey distilleries (at Royal Oak) between 2013-2019. A unique feature of the distillery is its production of all three forms of Irish whiskey (Pot Still, Malt and Grain) under the one roof and in the same distilling room.
His experimental approach to cask finishing has seen him travel the globe in search of unique casks, which will layer both flavour and complexity on his chosen distillate. Pushing the boundaries of traditional cask selection, Bernard Walsh oversaw the creation of the first ever Icewine cask finish Irish whiskey in 2021.
A founding member of the Irish Whiskey Association, Bernard was elected and served as the Chairman of the Irish Whiskey Association between 2014-2016. In 2019 he was invited to serve as a board director of Drinks Ireland, the representative organisation for alcoholic drinks manufacturers and suppliers in Ireland.
In November 2021 he completed the sale of Walsh Whiskey to the rapidly-growing spirits company Amber Beverage Group. Bernard Walsh continues in his role as Managing Director and focuses his time and energy on developing an extensive portfolio of innovations for both brands while driving the whiskey division’s growth ambitions.
Bernard and Rosemary live with their four daughters in the beautiful County of Carlow in Ireland.