A Clare emigrant who returned to her family farm in Cooraclare to create a business that has revived the traditional method of producing Irish whiskey is poised to become a Nissan Generation Next ambassador.
Louise McGuane, (39), was one of almost 1,000 people who applied to the innovative ambassador programme which helps people to follow their dream and to get ahead with the backing and support of Nissan.
This week she was named as one of 20 finalists put forward to the public voting stage of the programme and is now just one step away from landing the keys to a brand new, taxed and insured Nissan to drive for a year.
“I am thrilled to make it through to the public vote. Every vote counts and I hope that the people of Clare will support me and my business by voting online,” said Louise.
Louise left Ireland after secondary school and went on to gain a wealth of international experience in the drinks industry before returning home to found the Chapel Gate Irish Whiskey Company two years ago.
She has held senior commercial and marketing roles for brands like Champagne Veuve Clicquot and Johnnie Walker and is now using her experience of working for such leading brands in cities like New York, Paris, London and Singapore to create a new global brand in the heart of Clare.
“We are the first licensed whiskey bonder in Ireland in over 50 years and the first licensed whiskey producer in county Clare for over 100 years. We’ve succeeded in bringing back a way of making whiskey that was lost to Ireland and we are now maturing whiskey on our farm under the J.J. Corry brand,” explained Louise.
“I used all of my savings to start the business. We are now on track to begin exporting to the U.S. in July and we have plans to construct our own blending facility and bottling line on site so that we can take that element of production in house. We are also working to distribute our whiskey to high end luxury resorts along the Wild Atlantic Way,” said Louise.
“I believe that entrepreneurship is the key to keeping rural Ireland alive. I’ve also started a mentorship programme for young women in the locality. My generation were lucky to be able to come home and now we have the chance to make home better for those behind us,” she added.
Local Nissan dealer, Dulick Nissan, is encouraging everyone to get behind Louise and to vote for her online at www.nissangenerationnext.ie before voting closes on July 14.
“Louise exemplifies what Nissan Generation Next is all about. She is part of the new guard of Irish emigrants who went away, who succeeded abroad and who have now returned to make their communities a better place through private enterprise,” said Patricia Fitzgerald, Dealer Principal at Dulick Nissan.