New Chair and Vice-Chair of Irish Whiskey Association

December 01, 2022

James Doherty, Managing Director of Sliabh Liag and Helen Mulholland, Master Blender at Sazerac of Ireland / Lough Gill Distillery have been elected as new Chair and Vice-Chair of the Irish Whiskey Association respectively. The Irish Whiskey Association is the all-island representative body working to promote, protect and represent Irish Whiskey in Ireland and globally. Mr Doherty and Ms Mulholland were elected at the Association’s biennial general meeting today (01.12.2022).

James Doherty has been Vice-Chair of the IWA since 2020, and succeeds John Quinn, Global Brand Ambassador with Tullamore D.E.W. as Chair. Speaking about his election, Mr Doherty said: “Being invited to Chair the IWA is an honour I never could have imagined, and I am excited to represent the industry. The consistent growth of the last decade and the wealth of new entrants means we need to keep enhancing the collegiate nature of the industry, protect its integrity at an international level and find new ways to promote our sustainability agenda. Irish whiskey is an all-island economy that brings with it unique value that should be celebrated particularly in 2023.”

Master distiller Helen Mulholland, the first woman to be inducted into the International Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame leads Sligo’s Lough Gill Distillery team in the pursuit of crafting and blending Ireland’s luxury single malt whiskey. Helen is responsible for the selection and management of the casks for Athrú single malt whiskey, nurturing Sazerac’s global portfolio of Irish whiskeys including Paddy and Michael Collins as well as new product development.

Taking up the reins as Vice-Chair, Helen Mulholland said: "I am delighted to accept the role of Vice Chair at the Irish Whiskey Association. Throughout my time in the industry, global volumes of Irish whiskey have increased sevenfold and the number of distilleries on the island of Ireland has grown from three to more than thirty. My priority as Vice Chair at the IWA will be to protect the integrity of the Irish Whiskey category, as well as continuing its global promotion.”

William Lavelle, Director of the Irish Whiskey Association congratulated James and Helen on their election. Lavelle stated: “I look forward to working with James and Helen as the Irish Whiskey Association continues to address the significant challenges facing our industry, particularly in the areas of supply chain, international trade and the impact of Brexit; while embracing the equally significant opportunities offered by increased global demand for Irish whiskey.”

Lavelle also thanked the outgoing Chairman John Quinn for his outstanding contribution over the past two years. Lavelle stated: “John was instrumental in leading the development and implementation of the Irish Whiskey Association’s landmark new Sustainability Roadmap which was launched in May; as well providing exceptional leadership as our association set-out a new five-year strategy and the ambitious vision of becoming the most effective and dynamic category association in the spirits world.”


Contact: Emily Brennan / Maisie Lynch, Alice PR & Events, Tel: 086-1658629 / 086-8966298 Email:

Notes to Editors:

  • James Doherty, Helen Mulholland and William Lavelle are available for media interview.
  • Photos of James and Helen are available to download here.