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Irish Spring

Washing away the stereotype of the elderly drinker, Riannon Walsh's old-style whiskey cleans up with Gen Xers.

This story appears in the May 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Riannon Walsh knows better than to buy into the stereotype of your "typical" single malt whiskey enthusiast. Today's connoisseurs aren't limited to the older generation. No, she insists, they're more along the lines of young professionals and Gen Xers seeking sophistication in their drink of choice. And Walsh should know: She's got a handle on the whiskey business, not only because she's founder of Cloonaughill Distillers Ltd., a start-up in Galway, Ireland, that will export Irish liquor to the United States in the next 18 months, but also because this 38-year-old coordinates yearly whiskey tasting expos in major U.S. cities via her Philadelphia business, Cloonaughill Celtic Malts Inc.

Entrepreneur: You market your whiskey to the younger crowd. Why?

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