“If you look at it like it’s just the booze, it’s the booze,” said Mr. Collins, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who helped establish the Irish Mist brand.
“But it’s a product of our history, the history of the Irish, the heritage of the country.
And it’s something we are proud to stand by and take care of.”
The Irish Mist label includes products made with traditional ingredients, including rum, whiskey and brandy.
But the spirit is so popular in Ireland that it’s also made into an Irish cider, a whiskey cocktail, and a vodka and gin.
Ireland has long been home to a strong whiskey industry, and the Irish have long been responsible for the quality of their booze.
In fact, whiskey’s legacy in Ireland dates back centuries, when a small number of wealthy Irish families imported the first whiskey.
It was not until the mid-1800s, when British colonists arrived, that the whiskey industry became an international phenomenon.
But whiskey was hardly the only Irish spirit.
“We have a lot of Irish whisky,” said Michael McDonagh, owner of the New York City-based McDonogh Whiskey.
“The Irish have been drinking it for thousands of years.”
Today, the Irish whiskey industry employs about 300,000 people in the United States and about 1.5 million in Ireland.
Irish whiskey has been an important part of American culture for decades, as the Irish drink more than any other nation.
But for a long time, American whiskey drinkers didn’t know much about it.
“I think there was a very, very small group of people who actually knew more about whiskey than I did,” Mr. McDonough said.
“It was not a big deal.”
In the 1980s, American drinkers discovered that the American distillery industry was growing, and they started buying Irish whiskey.
The boom in demand led to a boom in distilling, which created jobs and a lot more revenue for the distillers.
“That boom and the growth that followed it really changed the whole structure of our economy,” said James A. Hutton, an assistant professor at the Whisky Institute of America in Philadelphia.
“There was a lot less competition for jobs.”
Irish whiskey drinkers in the 1980’s also became aware of the quality and flavor of American whiskey.
“Irish whiskey has become so much more well known in the American market than it has in Ireland,” Mr Hutton said.
In the 1990s, Irish whiskey became popular in other countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Italy.
“This was one of the first times in decades that people were getting whiskey in the U.K. and Ireland,” said Brian O’Donnell, a historian at the University of Chicago.
“People were buying it from the same people.”
Irish people in England also were getting a taste for American whiskey, and by the early 2000s, many American bars and restaurants were serving Irish whiskey in a variety of flavors, including rye whiskey, bourbon, rum, vodka and tequila.
“When the Scotch whisky boom began, it was the first time that American people had been able to get it,” Mr O’Connell said.
The U. S. government is also pushing back against the Irish’s growing popularity, by restricting sales to Irish residents and imposing restrictions on how many bottles they can buy.
The Department of Agriculture recently banned the importation of Irish whiskey into the United State.
“In the early 1990s we began seeing a lot, a lot fewer Irish whiskey labels being produced in the states,” Mr McDonaugh said.
Still, there’s been a lot to celebrate for Irish whiskey fans.
“A lot of people would say that Irish whiskey’s the reason why the United Stated has such a rich and diverse history,” Mr Collins said.
He added that it is now the second-largest spirit producer in the world.
“Even though I don’t drink it, I see that as a great thing.”