Coming soon: Whiskey Burn - The Distilleries of Ireland by Vespa.
The Irish sequel to Wittenborg’s book exploring the whisky distilleries of Scotland has just come off the printing presses. Published by WUP, printed in Holland and written by Wittenborg in-house writer/proofreader Ben Birdsall, this second book is a similarly anecdotal study/travelogue/guide/reference book which will interest a range of readers from whiskey fans to those working in the hospitality industry.
Ben’s book is a record of his 3-week trip around Ireland on his trusty 1979 Vespa 50, the same one which he used to travel across the highlands and islands of Scotland. By his own admission, he started the Scottish trip as something of a whisky novice, learning as he went along, but he came to the Irish trip with a sounder knowledge of the processes and practices
How do you feel about the release of the book?
"All I have seen so far is the mini-video of the pages being printed (see it here ) and a few snapshots of the finished book. It looks great, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. It is a weird sensation, in a way. The trip I did last year, all the impressions and memories, the things I learned about the Irish whiskey business, the anecdotes I heard and the conversations I had with owners and employee, can all now be read by anyone who picks up the book. Though it’s a proud moment, it’s also a bit of a daunting prospect."
How long has it taken from initial idea to finished book?
"It’s difficult to say. The original idea for the Irish trip came a few years ago. After doing a bit of research, I realised that there were only three or four distilleries producing in Ireland, so I changed destination and toured the Scottish distilleries instead. That resulted in Whisky Burn, Distilleries of Scotland by Vespa. By the time Wittenborg mooted the idea of publishing a sequel, the entire landscape of Irish distilling had changed; from four the number had mushroomed to over twenty in a few short years – there is something of a renaissance in Irish distilling at the moment. Though I only did the trip the summer before last, I suppose you could say that the book has been a long time in coming."
What are your expectations?
"I’ll be interested to find out what people think of Whiskey Burn. The first book is a big, difficult to ignore, coffee-table tome with a striking cover that looks like the letters were cut through wood - it has been called 'more of a work of art than a book'. Whiskey Burn, the sequel - note the addition of an ‘e’ for Irish whiskey - is a more shelf-friendly book, semi-hardback, one that can be taken around on an Irish whiskey-trail tour as a reference."
"From now on I’ll be supporting both books with news and updates on the whiskyburn.com website, because the distilling industry changes fast. That way the books can stay up to date. Then we’ll see. Another book about whisky distilleries? That would take me and my Vespa further afield - the U.S., Canada, Japan? Well, like I said, we’ll have to see."
The official launch of Whiskey Burn will take place at WhiskeyLive Dublin on 23/24th November. Other presentations in the Netherlands and elsewhere are planned for the new year.
by James Wittenborg