I’ve spent a good amount of my time living and working around Dublin 8.
It is the part of Dublin that gives the capital its heart, soul and character. That character oozes across the city from Meath Street, Francis Street and, especially, from The Liberties.
While the arrival of Google and Facebook has taken the Docklands in a certain direction, that's not the Dublin that I love and pine for.
Great cities are defined by iconic working class areas and Dublin is defined by Dublin 8. We aren’t talking the last decade either, as it's been at the heart of the city for a couple of centuries.
You don’t need to be a city planner by trade or a property developer to realise that, as a short stroll from St Stephen’s Green, this area will be the next big area of Dublin and the place where people want to live, just like Williamsburg in NY or Kreuzberg in Berlin.
Last night, I was invited to a launch party for Roe & Co., a new Irish whiskey created by Diageo (the company behind Guinness).
In a warehouse on Thomas Street, the world’s media were told about a new distillery that will open and become the home of Roe and Co. Slap bang in the middle of Dublin 8.
As I looked around the area, it struck me that something big was happening. A rebirth of Dublin 8, Irish whiskey and the beginning of a movement.
To understand the importance of this, you need to look at the prominence of Jameson in America. Rappers list it in their lyrics in the same way they do Courvoisier or Cristal champagne.
They sell tens of millions of cases a year mainly because of the 'Irishness' of the brand. Consumers all over the world like Ireland. The flipside though, is that Scottish whiskey is bigger. Close to 20 times bigger than Irish whiskey in global terms.
The reasons for that are varied (the Famine and British taxes didn’t help) but we went from over 100 distilleries in Dublin 100 years ago to just two.
However, things are changing and Roe & Co is one symbol of that change.
Irish whiskey is about to be huge.
Gin may the biggest drink trend in the world right now but Irish whiskey will steal that mantle. Teelings is a stone’s throw away and they should be credited with being the trailblazers in the space. Having two world-class distilleries in the one postcode will completely change the area.
Critics might call this 'gentrification' but nobody can say that bringing jobs, tourists and money to an area that needs it is a bad thing. The phrase 'a rising tide raises all boats' comes to mind.
Dublin 8 is being reborn in front of our eyes. Scottish whiskey is firmly in the crosshairs. Diageo is doubling down on the area and building on the success the company has had globally with Guinness as an Irish focused brand.
Roe & Co will be a huge success and it will have Dublin’s best area at its core. That's a good thing.
If I could give you two bits of advice right now, I’d buy a house in Dublin 8 and shares in Irish whiskey.