Lauren loves “a magical place” creating rich flavours

Marketer Lauren McMullan has good reason to hope that the limited reopening of restaurants and bars from yesterday will see more people here enjoying the Irish whiskey based summer cocktails she’s been promoting in her role as a Brand Ambassador and Educator for Ireland at the Iconic Old Bushmills Distillery in Co Antrim.

Saturday, 1st May 2021, 6:00 am
Lauren McMullan, Brand Ambassador and Educator at Old Bushmills Distillery in Co Antrim

Lauren (26) has held the post for the past two years which have been dominated by the coronavirus pandemic and the associated closure of the hospitality sector across the island.

“It’s great to see bars and restaurants open again and to be able to introduce bartenders in particular to our latest whiskey that’s been finished in Caribbean rum casks in time for the summer season,” Lauren explains. “It will be tremendous when all the bars are able to open their doors again.”

Lauren, who lives close to the historic distillery, works with bartenders – mixologists as they are known in the trade - in NI and the Republic to drive sales of the distillery’s whiskeys by memorable cocktails developed by the experts at Bushmills.

Flavours from the Caribbean for summer cocktails

While Bushmills remains popular with traditional whiskey lovers - the core of the business over many generations - the brand has diversified in recent times to become a preferred choice for cocktail bars especially in the US, the world’s biggest market for Irish whiskey.

“Our work in developing creative cocktails is contributing to the tremendous resurgence in Irish whiskey sales, especially Bushmills, in all our markets and is now a central feature of our strategy. As a result, Bushmills is now popular for cocktails virtually everywhere,” Lauren continues.

Bushmills, famed as the world’s oldest licensed distillery, is now at the heart of what has become one of the island’s most dynamic and export-led industries. Whiskey, gin, rum and poitin are now being produced by around 30 companies in NI alone. The Co. Antrim distillery has enhanced its position as the pacesetter in recent years through its launch and clever marketing of a series of original products which have also strengthened its global appeal.

The new Caribbean rum cask whiskey from Bushmills is an example of the innovation that has underpinned the distillery for generations. Lauren describes the spirit as “extremely versatile with new and unique flavours ideally suited for summer season cocktails.”

Some of the 400,000 casks held in warehouses at Bushmills Distillery

The new spirit features the award-winning single malt from Bushmills finished in hand-selected fine oak Caribbean rum casks. The new spirit features the award winning triple distilled single malt from Bushmills finished in Caribbean rum casks, which is blended with an Irish grain whiskey to create tropical fruit and dry spice flavours.

Lauren highlights: “Bushmills only produces triple distilled single malt whiskey, they source the grain spirit from another distillery. However the secret lies in the casks. First used in the Caribbean to hold rich rum for a minimum of seven years, each cask has been carefully selected by local rum makers and then shipped to Ireland. Over years in Bushmills’ warehouses, these casks impart mellow aromas and flavours to our wonderful single malt in the cask finishing process. The casks impart pineapple sweetness, caramelized brown sugar notes and toffee tones, delivering a long, smooth finish to this rich gold spirit.”

Having studied French and Spanish at Queen’s University and graduated with a BSc in Geography in 2018, Lauren brought extensive knowledge of Bushmills, probably NI’s only globally recognised food and drink brand, to the role. She had joined the distillery in April 2014 as a Tour Guide and Whiskey Tutor, a post that involved hosting tours of the sprawling complex to visitors especially those from France and Germany. She immersed herself in the history of the distillery and especially its people.

“Bushmills has an amazing and inspiring history,” Lauren adds. “I love working in what is a magical place. Bushmills has more than 400 years of whiskey-making heritage, which has been passed down through generations. It’s fundamentally a craft business in which everyone is passionate about the quality and outstanding flavours of the whiskey.”

The iconic Old Bushmills

Lauren carried forward her knowledge of and passion for the distillery and her experience briefing visitors about its history and products when she was appointed Brand Ambassador and Educator in March 2019. She had strengthened her skills with a diploma from Belfast Metropolitan College in marketing. She’s passionate about her role in such an inspirational business that’s entering another exciting stage in its development both within NI and the global industry.

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