Ernest Cantillon – Cork’s Bar, Restaurant and Whiskey Entrepreneur

November 18, 2020
Irish whiskey has a fascinating past – we’ve had many great conversations about the rise and fall and rise again of Irish whiskey on this podcast. One of the most fascinating aspects to me of Irish whiskey’s past is the role of whiskey bonders and bottlers – those middlemen who purchased casks of whiskey from the distilleries and bottled under their own label or matured the whiskeys further, selling the whiskeys on in their own pub or distributing to others to sell.
This middleman business mostly died out over the past 40 years as distilleries took more control of their own supply chains. Some of the surviving brands from this era of whiskey bonding and bottling are very familiar to us – names like Redbreast and the Spot range of whiskeys.

These two whiskeys were both the product of wine and spirit merchants who had a bonder’s license.

But pub owners often played that bonder and bottler role, which made sense considering they already had the audience for the whiskey.

Kieran Folliard, founder of 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey, ran a successful group of pubs in Minneapolis- St Paul in the US before launching his whiskey to keep more control of costs and supply. I chatted with Kieran in a previous episode of the podcast.

Henry Downe’s Pub in Waterford is another example of a pub buying whiskey by the cask and historically bottling it themselves.

Another bar owner entering into the world of Irish whiskey is Ernest Cantillon, an entrepreneurial bar and restaurant owner in Cork city in the south of Ireland. Ernest has been making headlines since he opened his first bar with his innovative and entertaining promotions and attention grabbing events.

He has a thirsty audience and he now has a new line of his own Irish whiskeys and gins to keep them happy. But he’s not stopping there. In this week’s episode, Ernest Cantillon shares how he built his bar and restaurant business, what worked, what didn’t work, and how he’s navigating the current pandemic challenges while planning something big in the harbor town of Kinsale to do with Irish whiskey.

Two Cork lads having a chat about whiskey, Cork and more Cork! I bet you can’t wait…..enjoy!



Listen to previous episodes: