In the last blog there’s loads of stuff about what’s inside our reborn Velvet Cap Irish whiskey bottle, but liquid is only ever part of the story. So start by looking at the bigger picture.

There are many ways a new distillery can launch an Irish whiskey brand.

  1. The distillery can simply wait until their own liquid is 3 years old. Given the enormous cost of producing whiskey if you can pull that off it’s great, but distilleries that do, like The Shed and Waterford, are exceptions.
  2. The distillery can source third party liquid and over time phase that out as their own stock comes on stream. That’s what the majority of Irish start ups have done.

But there is a third way, and that’s the way we’ve decided to do it. Create a stand alone brand that will only ever feature sourced Irish whiskey and will exist independently of what ever brand we put on our own liquid.

For decades the local whiskey in these parts was bottled in Dungarvan by Thomas Power & Co., who made mineral waters and cider as well as bottling Guinness and spirits like Irish whiskey.


The brand under which they sold their sourced whiskey was Velvet Cap. It was never a distillery brand, nor was the brand ever attached to one source, featuring as it did whiskies from Jameson in Dublin and Daly’s in Tullamore.



Blackwater team

As you might expect, a brand steeped in local history is going to speak of the area, this after all is the home of Grand National winners and the birth place of Point to Point racing.

So this poster was our starting point…

Velvet Cap

Since the G.I. for Irish whiskey in 2014 the rules of what you can and can’t put on an Irish whiskey label have tightened up somewhat. So we started by literally scratching out all the stuff that was no longer allowed, or true.

Velvet Cap

Which didn’t leave much…

Velvet cap

As a label it’s clean, but let’s face it, a lot of the romance and charm has been lost. Now a good agency is like a barrister, they won’t ask you something unless they already know the answer… so when Kasia from Dublin based Together We Create ‘suggested’ a more radical approach, we knew she was gently taking us by the elbow…

Velvet cap

Especially as this was in the email…


Let’s just say you are already aware of Steven Noble’s work. You might remember him from such shows as…

Wild Turkey Burbon



Velvet Cap was going to stretch us in ways we hadn’t appreciated. Our approach and vision would have to scale with the ambition of what were about to undertake. So we said ‘yes’.

The Velvet Cap itself would now be central to everything…

Velvet Cap

You’d be surprised how many times a simple cap can be drawn, re-drawn, imagined, picked apart and be argued about. But we knew we were heading in the right direction and by January 2020 Kasia had nailed the look.

Velvet cap Irish Whiskey

It was simple, bold, clean and modern but with a nod to the original. Like the whiskey inside the bottle, it respected the past but was very much its own thing.

The print run happened during the Covid-19 lockdown, so again by remote control. But we are well pleased with the results.

Bottle of whiskey

In total, only 6,000 bottles of Batch 1 will exist.

So does the world need another merchant of Irish whiskey? That’s a good question and one I will return to next week.