It is September 2016 when Mayo businessman Stephen Cope and brand builders Stefan Hansen and Fritz Hendrick Melle meet in Dublin to get to know each other. Stephen is the owner of the brand “Grace O’Malley,” with which he shares a deep love. Growing up in the west of Ireland, the stories of the legendary Irish Pirate Queen have accompanied and inspired Stephen since childhood. The two Germans, who worked for decades as marketing specialists for P&G, Honda and the Radeberger Group, among others, have already developed an Irish brand with “Irish Pure” that sells great in Europe.
The two are fascinated by the story of this great woman – not only a buccaneer (as the English see it), but also a navigator, clan leader, businesswoman and – above all – a survivor! The story sounds like it was written for our time.
Stephen, Stefan and Hendrick, all fathers of daughters, felt that our time needs role models like Grace O’Malley. And so they were relatively unanimous: the story of Grace O’Malley must be told to the world – preferably with a glass of Irish whiskey in hand.
There are ideas that quickly reveal that the time is ripe for them – the birth of Grace O’Malley Spirits is definitely one of them. John Teeling, owner of the Great Northern Distillery, was so excited by the story that he offered the whiskey entrepreneurs a supply contract. A call to Bordeaux brought world-renowned master blender Paul Caris on board. The entrepreneurs only realised later what resonance his name had in the spirits industry. From Ann Chambers, Irish writer and biographer of Grace O’Malley, came the blessing, historical knowledge and contact with Joan Mulloy, the first Irish race sailor and great-great-granddaughter of Grace O’Malley.
A few years later, Grace O’Malley is one of the established names in Irish whiskey, one of the most awarded spirits of recent years and finds friends in over 23 countries.
The special thing about Grace O’Malley Whiskey: While the proportion of female consumers of Irish whiskey is usually around 45%, it is 53% for Grace O’Malley. And every bottle tells her story.