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The History of Jameson Whiskey

The history of Jameson Whiskey is truly an interesting tale. Here at the Whiskey Cellar, we strive to celebrate the finest Irish Whiskeys. It is well known that Jameson is recognised as the number one Irish whiskey in the world at the moment, and one of the top three in the whiskey industry across the globe. We at The Whiskey Cellar consider ourselves whiskey buffs, but even those who are less practised in the art of whiskey tasting love the quality and smoothness of Jameson. So where did it all start?

The founder of the brand, John Jameson, was actually Scottish and was born in 1740. Initially a lawyer, he married into the whisky industry to Margaret Haig, whose family owned the Haig distilleries in Scotland.  Margaret was also a cousin of the Steins, another large distilling family in the area with whiskey interests in both Scotland and Dublin.


In 1786 the couple moved over to Ireland. John’s new role was to manage Stein’s whiskey distillery which had been established on Bow Street in Dublin in 1780. By 1805 John had full ownership of the distillery. He expanded it along with his son, John Jameson II, and in 1810 the name of the whiskey saw a change to ‘Jameson’. The company went from strength to strength and in 1786 the distillery ws producing 30,000 gallons annually. John’s leadership saw the distillery become the second largest producer in Ireland and one of the largest in the world at 1,000,000 gallons per year by the turn of the century.

Jameson was a great businessman who had turned a small distillery into a global operation. He layed the foundations for a brand that would survive many setbacks that were to come in the Irish whiskey industry over the next 200 years.

Jameson had a family background that gave him a fearless attitude to business. The Jameson family motto is Sine Metu, meaning “without fear”. The crest and motto were awarded to the family for fighting pirates in the 1500s. Jameson also continued this tradition of seamanship by sailing the seas to sell his whiskey worldwide.


Hard work is pivotal to the Jameson brand and part of the original company culture. John Jameson rewarded his workers far more often than the standards at the time and he regarded his employees as central to the success of the distillery. He had the emblem of the barrelmen has been included on Jameson bottles as a symbol of the hard physical labour performed by the distillery workers.

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