Oisin Davis on spirits: Twenty years of West Cork Distillers

Having started life in co-founder Denis McCarthy’s back garden, the Skibbereen distillery is now the second-largest in the country

John O’Connell (left), Denis McCarthy and Ger McCarthy of West Cork Distillers: “We spotted an opportunity and thought that we could bring a new perspective to the category.”

There are no great rules to achieving success in the drinks business. Some brands are rapidly launched with huge money and lots of noise behind them, but die a quick death and are quickly forgotten. Others quietly chip away, slowly building on each success and reinvesting where they can.

The latter is definitely one way to describe how West Cork Distillers has carved its path. Twenty years ago Denis McCarthy, one of its founders, set ...