Redbreast was born in 1903, when the Jameson Distillery in Dublin supplied the Irish branch of Gilbey’s wine & spirits with “New Make Spirit”. Gilbey’s importing various types of wines, already had many good quality barrels, which were thus sent to the Dublin distillery to be filled and returned to the distributor's warehouses.
According to Irish whiskey folklore, the manager of Gilbey’s was an avid bird watcher and thus named three of the company's whiskeys by bird names: Chaffinch, Yellowhammer and Redbreast. Sadly, the Redbreast brand suffered terribly when the Irish whiskey category experienced an unprecedented decline after the 1950s. Thus the distillery ended the contract in 1971, forced to close its doors. Gilbey's however continued to bottle their own stock of Redbreast, but the whiskey was not really good and by the 1980s the brand had all but disappeared.
Fortunately, in 1991, Redbreast rose from its ashes thanks to Midleton Whiskey, which kept the brand alive, alongside solid references like Green Spot. Barry Crockett, the former Master Distiller of the Midleton Distillery is no stranger to this turnaround. Since the takeover of the distillery by the Pernod Ricard group, Midleton has always been at the forefront of an industry that has been enjoying a second lease of life in recent years!