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Herlihy Tells Us More About Tullamore D.E.W.

Posted by on in January 2015 Editions
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People tell me all of the time that I have a great job, writing about beer, wine, and spirits for the Beverage Journal each month.  No argument there.  But do you know who has a REALLY great job?  Tim Herlihy, the National Brand Ambassador for Tullamore D.E.W. Irish whiskey.  And he knows it.

“I am in the very lucky position that I get to travel from coast to coast, city to city, and always with a bottle of Tullamore D.E.W. in my hand,” he stated, during a recent interview with the Beverage Journal.  “It’s a nice way to travel, by the way! I’ve been lucky enough to go to 27 states and [Washington, D.C.] in my three years in this role, and I’m still absolutely baffled that I’m fortunate enough to get paid to enjoy my favorite Irish whiskey. My role is basically to introduce and re-introduce people to our liquids.  So, I host a lot of different tasting events. Unfortunately, although I am an ‘ambassador,’ that doesn’t mean I have any diplomatic immunity.  So, I have to behave!”

His travels often take him to the Maryland and Washington, D.C., markets.  For instance, Tullamore D.E.W. had a major presence at Maryland’s 41st annual Irish Festival at the State Fairgrounds in Timonium in early November.  “I attended last year and fully enjoyed it.  There was great music and plenty of Irish wolfhounds, as well!  This year, I sent Eimear Keller, who is also a Brand Ambassador for us. It was her first time there, and she did six tastings of our whiskey over the course of two days.”

He continued, “For us, the Maryland Irish Festival and others like it is a spotlight.  It’s a chance for us to showcase our whiskey.  It’s a chance for us to introduce people to the Tullamore D.E.W. brand and explain what makes our liquid different” 

If Herlihy could come up with one word to describe the Maryland and Washington whiskey-drinking markets it’s “enthusiastic.”  He elaborated, “What is interesting about the D.C.-Maryland area is the number of ‘explorational’ drinkers, people who are starting to trade up.  They’re drinking the Tullamore D.E.W. Phoenix and the Tullamore D.E.W. 12 Year Old Special Reserve.  There is this huge movement towards Irish whiskey, in general, and a lot of it is the taste profile.  Irish whiskey tends to be triple distilled. It’s a really smooth, friendly, and approachable spirit that is appealing to the new wave of drinker who is starting to move to bourbon, to Irish whiskey because of the taste profile.  When you think of Irish whiskey, there are no rules to it.  You can drink it whatever way you enjoy it.  There’s no pretentiousness to it.”

Herlihy concedes that there is still a certain intimidation factor where whiskey is concerned.  People often ask him questions like: “What’s the right way to drink whiskey?” “Should it be on the rocks?” and “How many drops of water should I add?”  “Scotch is the most intimidating,” he remarked.  “I think when people think of Scotch, they think of sitting at home, swirling it by the fireplace, and plotting the downfall of their enemies.  Whereas when you think about Irish whiskey, you’re not at home.  You’re at a bar with friends.  You’re toasting.  You’re enjoying it.  That is the ‘No Rules” factor to Irish whiskey, which often overcomes that intimidation element.”

Prior to becoming National Brand Ambassador for Tullamore D.E.W., Herlihy was an egg farmer back in Ireland.  He recalls his first few industry events as being a bit awkward as he tried to find his footing.   “I just had to remember to be myself,” he said.  “This is kind of a role where you can’t fake it.  You can’t pretend.  You can’t get into some character.  You have to be yourself and be enthusiastic and passionate about what you do and the liquid in each glass and each bottle.”

He concluded, “I’m also very lucky in that I get to do things that I would never, ever get to do in another job.  One of my favorite things I’ve done is take part in a boxing event at Madison Square Garden!  I had the chance to stand in the square circle.  I didn’t compete, of course.  But I got to introduce a few fights on the big microphone.  I often say to people, ‘I was bare-knuckled in Madison Square Garden!’”


Teddy is a graduate of UMBC. In additional to his Beverage Journal writing duties, he is an entertainment reviewer.