Redbreast takes flight

A staunch friend

An advertisement in 1933 reads: “Redbreast Liqueur Whiskey at your service. You could not wish for a stauncher truer friend. Always ready to help. Refreshing you through the sultry, thirst making, days of summer, shielding you from the piercing winds and driving rains of winter, and in every season proving itself a most welcome and peace-bringing nightcap.” They don't make advertising like they used to.

Moving and changing

In the mid 1960s, Redbreast was being bottled annually in batches of approximately 4,000 gallons (18,000 litres) to satisfy a steady demand for the brand. Minor changes to the bottle occurred throughout the 1960s including, from 1964, an age statement appeared on the foil cap seal. The familiar Redbreast white label with red writing remained largely unchanged until at least 1972.

"A Special Partnership"

In 1970, Irish Distillers Ltd. (IDL) decided to phase out the sales of bulk whiskey ‘by the cask’ to the wholesalers and retailers (bonders) who bottled it themselves. Increasing export demand, and plans to increase its portfolio of brands, necessitated the retention of as much mature whiskey as possible. Gilbeys however, managed to persuade IDL to continue supplying them pure pot still whiskey for Redbreast until the closure of Bow Street Distillery in the summer of 1971.

Running low

Over the life of the brand, the label has gone through various iterations. By 1978, the label had changed to a pale matt brown colour with a large stylised No.12 in white overprinted on which was the Redbreast name. In late 1980 the glossy label was ochre in colour with a smaller 12 in the background. Throughout the years however, other than the brand’s ill-fated dalliance with a blended version, the distinctive dumpy, rum bottle shape has been a constant.