Belfast Telegraph

Whiskey walking tour to show off the best tipples on offer throughout Northern Ireland

By John Mulgrew

Belfast will soon host the city's first whiskey walking tour - with a journey through some of the top tipples Ireland has to offer.

The tour is part of the newly unveiled Whiskey Club, which will offer the public, publicans and bartenders the opportunity to take part in a range of events, including tastings and special meet-ups.

And the inaugural walking tour will take place tomorrow, kicking off at the atmospheric Bittles Bar, before winding its way through the city's Cathedral Quarter and finishing up in the lavish surroundings of the five-star Merchant Hotel.

It's being led by Dillon Bass whiskey ambassador, Joe McGowan, and has been created alongside the award-winning Belfast Food Tour.

The 25-year-old Belfast man took over in the dream role earlier this year.

"It is something we are offering as part of Whiskey Club. Belfast Food Tour are passionate about food, and we are passionate about whiskey. It's a great partnership.

"The tour will be taking you through a journey of the best of Irish whiskey, including its history.

"That will include everything from long drinks, cocktails, and pairing with beers, as well as showcasing some of the best whiskey bars in Belfast.

"And of course we will also be showcasing some of Dillon Bass's brands."

Some of the whiskey brands on offer will include Jameson, Middleton, Powers and Redbreast. And Joe promised there would be something to please the most discerning whiskey drinker at every stop.

"There will be something different in every bar," Joe said.

"There are about seven or eight different bars, and each will be offering something different.

"This is the first time we have had this in Belfast, and I think it's been a long time coming. It's a way to celebrate Irish whiskey."

The walking tour is part of the new Whiskey Club, which will provide a resource to the trade and to customers.

"Whiskey club is being launched as a response to the ongoing growth in Irish whiskey. It will be a great resource for bars and consumers.

"There will be information about the growth of the whiskey sector, different styles, events and articles.

Joe said the tour hoped to increase interest in whiskey.

"We also want to attract tourists. We have a lot of people coming to Northern Ireland, and we want people to learn about Irish whiskey.

"We want to make sure they have a fantastic experience here and try the best whiskies that we have, as well as showcasing the best bars and retailers. I think we would love to see lots of tourists. We want to get a mixture of tourists, bartenders, mixologists and consumers."

The Whiskey Club will include a membership and customers will be able to log on to the website to keep on top of events and industry news. "You can be kept up to date about any tastings or events that will be advertised through that," Joe said.

"There will also be a map of the best bars in Belfast."

Joe said his new role as a Dillon Bass whiskey ambassador was an important one - and a dream job for a connoisseur.

"My job is to promote Irish whiskey and to engage, and really educate people.

"I came from a retail background, working in off-licence. It is a bit of a dream job.

"Irish whiskey is the fastest growing spirit category and people are finally realising that it is of tremendous quality."

Anyone interested in the club or getting tickets for a whiskey walking tour can visit

Belfast Telegraph