Conor Coughlan developed the award-winning Black Twist Hard Coffee.

‘The art of coffee brewing meets the craft of whiskey distilling in Black Twist, a uniquely spirited and balanced drink. We call it Hard Coffee.’
Conor Coughlan from Kinsalebeg has developed a really exciting new product called Black Twist Hard Coffee. Although just a few months on the market, the spirit has already been recognised with several awards. Among the accolades are honours from Blas na hEireann.
Speaking to the East Cork Journal, about his award-winning coffee-for-the-whiskey-drinker, Conor said; ‘‘it’s good to get extended validation when you pick up an award or two. The product is quite different, but the vision, or idea, was simple enough. Basically, coffee and spirits are two of the most important social drinks of today. You can see how popular the espresso martini is. It brings that love of coffee into the bar.’’
Black Twist is unique. The drink is not like anything that was already on the shelves, or behind the bars, at home, or indeed, abroad. This is what prompted Conor to pursue his interest in the drinks industry.
‘‘The only products on the shelves were coffee liqueurs – which are usually very high in sweetness. What I wanted to do, was to bring a good whiskey and coffee together, without the overpowering sweetness of the liqueur. The more I looked into it, the more I realised that there wasn’t anything else like that out there.
‘‘There are 46 different classifications of spirit drinks – whiskey, vodka, rum etc. Liqueur, according to those definitions, has a minimum of 10% sugar. Black Twist has much less than that. It doesn’t even fall into any of the existing 46 categories. It’s classified under the generic term – spirit drink. But, that doesn’t really mean much. That’s why we came up with the description ‘Hard Coffee’. It is coffee brewed in hard liquor. It has less sweetness and more character, that’s how I would describe it.’’
Conor’s new product has been well-received, since it was officially launched, in the run-up to Christmas. He’s hoping for more of the same, going forward.
‘‘It’s gone better than expected. That’s probably because it is a bit unique. It captures people’s attention. It’s kind of a two-pronged approach, trying to get it into bars and restaurants. Lots of people have been ordering it from the off-licence as well when they see it online.’’
A former employee at Kerry Group, Conor worked with coffee while based with the global food company. That stimulated his initial idea for a new product.
‘‘In January 2015, I decided to leave (Kerry Group) to try and put this product together. It took a lot longer than I thought to get it right. Two and a half years to three years later, I am finally getting it out there and I am planning to export it,’’ Conor said.
Black Twist is a spirit drink with 25% alc. /vol. For more information, or to order the product, see blacktwist.com. Enjoy responsibly, visit www.drinkaware.ie

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