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Great great great grandson of a Gort bootmaker brings his whiskey to Ireland

The great great great grandson of a bootmaker from Gort who emigrated to become a distiller in Minneapolis is now making the opposite journey – by exporting an Irish whiskey back home from the United States.

To be precise, Keeper’s Heart is an Irish/American whiskey – but Patrick O’Shaughnessy is confident that his award-winning liquor will tickle the taste buds of aficionados in the land of his forefathers after his decision to bring it all back home.

Luke O’Shaughnessy was the man who crossed the Atlantic in the opposite direction; he left Ireland at the end of the Famine and landed in Milford, Massachusetts, to embark on a new life in the US.

His great great grandson started O’Shaughnessy Distilling Co. in Minneapolis with the help of his cousin Michael O’Shaughnessy, combined with Cork-born Brian Nation’s Irish whiskey distilling experience – and now Patrick and his mother Cheryl have returned to the homeland of their ancestors to bring their newest creation back to where it all started for their family in the 1800’s.

Brian Nation was formerly Master Distiller for some of the best known Irish whiskeys – including Jameson, Redbreast, and Midleton – and after leaving Ireland in 2021 to move to America to craft Keeper’s Heart with the O’Shaughnessy family, Brian is proud to bring the unique blend of Irish and American whiskeys back home.

Together Patrick and Brian describe Keeper’s Heart is ‘a new style of whiskey, bringing together the best of Irish and American whiskey-making traditions’.

Since it launched in the US two years ago, it has won a string of awards, including International Wine and Spirits Challenge Platinum, Ultimate Spirits Challenge 94, Critics Challenge International Platinum and Proof Award Double Gold honours.

Reflecting on the foundation of the O’Shaughnessy Distilling Co., Patrick O’Shaughnessy said that what started as a family reunion became the birthplace of Keeper’s Heart, a celebration of the family’s Irish/American heritage.

“Our great great grandfather came to the United States from Ireland, and our large extended family has stayed close to our Irish roots. Keeper’s Heart was created to celebrate that,” he said.

“We are extremely proud of the Keeper’s Heart team and the reception the brand has received since we launched. It has made it possible to continue to grow Keeper’s Heart and evolve the liquid offerings, and now – as we begin international distribution – Ireland was at the top of the list,” he added.

Brian Nation, with over 22 years of experience as a Master Distiller, was born and raised in Cork City, and only moved to Minnesota following a meeting with the O’Shaughnessy family to embark on a new adventure and create a new style of whiskey, marrying the best of Irish and American whiskey-making traditions.

“I never thought I’d leave Ireland until I met the O’Shaughnessy family and heard what they wanted to create,” he said.

“Their vision was inspiring, and together, along with American Whiskey visionary David Perkins, we’ve created an innovative liquid portfolio and a brand that celebrates family, and heritage. Keeper’s Heart is my passion project, and I’m proud to return home to share with my friends and family what we’ve been up to across the pond.”

Keepers Heart will be shocked in off licences across the country by the end of the summer – and is also available from


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