When you ask Jeff McCabe about Hard Truth Distilling Co.’s newest release, McCabe’s Irish Whiskey, the initial reaction is subtle.
One corner of his mouth pulls up a hair further than the other in a line that’s somewhere just shy of a smile, his chin tilts down the tiniest bit, faded and slightly wild brows flex, and the lines around his eyes scrunch up a little.
He’s amused. He’s flattered. And, he’s once again been reminded that some things that fall under the category of “business” are often so very much more.
“I’m excited about McCabe’s for several reasons,” he says, leaning forward a little, propping his elbows on the table and folding his hands together briefly before they break apart — the Hard Truth co-founder and natural storyteller needs those hands to illustrate and accentuate the words he’s weaving together, after all.
“It’s a delightful Irish whiskey that I’m sure will please people. It’s a nod to my Irish roots and my love for the Irish-American story. I think my dad, Tom McCabe, would like it if he was still around — he’d certainly be pleased to have our family’s name on it.”
“I think what pleases me the most, though, is that McCabe’s is really a gift to me from my friends. I didn’t come up with a plan to bring an Irish whiskey to market and to give it my name. My friends and family did. They presented me with this idea and we all contributed to bringing McCabe’s to market,” he explains.
“I’m very thankful that Bryan Smith and Tim O’Bryan have wonderful palates, for Jim Dunbar’s and Ed Ryan’s steadfast commitment to all things Hard Truth, and for Megan O’Bryan’s and Ian McCabe’s gifts for capturing ideas with words.”
Smith is Hard Truth’s master distiller, Tim O’Bryan is a fellow Hard Truth co-founder and McCabe’s son-in-law, Dunbar is a longtime friend-and-adventurer-turned-business partner, Ryan is a fellow Hard Truth co-founder, and Megan O’Bryan and Ian McCabe are, respectively, the company artist/brand manager and experience director — as well as McCabe’s children.
An Origin Story
“I grew up hearing stories about my family, my Irish roots, and about my grandfather Leo and his brothers — all first generation Irish Americans,” McCabe explains.
“The McCabe family history is colorful and dates back to the days of the gallowglass families of Ireland. I am very proud of my heritage and I’m proud of our Hard Truth distillery.”
After years of nudges and encouragement and suggestions from friends, family, business-folk, and all those who fit somewhere in between, “it occurred to me that the only spirit I wanted to put my name on is a well-made Irish whiskey — a whiskey that is good enough that I could imagine my father tasting it and smiling and giving me a wink and saying, ‘That’s it! You did it, didn’t you?’”
That moment, that crystallization of voices from the present and one that never leaves the memory, put the gears toward McCabe’s on a course of action that led to a search for the right Irish whiskey.
“I wanted an Irish whiskey that would appeal to a broad range of drinkers. I wanted it to be easy to enjoy and the kind of spirit that most everyone could get behind. I think we’ve found that in this whiskey,” McCabe said.
And, today, the combination of that desire and the hard work of the Hard Truth teams allows Hard Truth Distilling Co. to present and share a crisp, delicious pot-distilled spirit crafted and aged three years on the Emerald Isle, a pleasant-on-the-palate liquid that satisfies the Hard Truth promise of quality and McCabe’s wish that it be both approachable and true to its, and his, name.
These are things for which McCabe is grateful, but a moment of reflection takes him back to the less physically tangible aspects of McCabe’s Irish Whiskey, and shifts his thoughts back to the heart of the matter.
“I’m fortunate that my son and daughter work with me at Hard Truth and that my extended family is proud of what we do and they support us. McCabe’s is a thank you and a celebration of family, history and commitment.”
And, thank you friends, from our Hard Truth family to yours.
McCabe’s Irish Whiskey from Hard Truth Distilling Co. is now available at Hard Truth Hills, Big Woods Restaurant Group locations, and at select retailers throughout the Hard Truth distribution area. To search for a vendor near you, visit the Hard Truth Spirits Finder, HERE.
To learn more about McCabe’s Irish Whiskey, visit the Hard Truth Distilling Co. Web site, HERE.
To read Hard Truth’s official press release, click HERE.
‘Looking for a recipe to try with this new spirit? Check out this week’s One Minute Cocktails with Hard Truth Hills video, HERE.