Bushmills: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

Bushmills: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

Posted by Adam Farley on 13th Mar 2019

Old Bushmills Irish whiskey is one of Ireland’s best-loved whiskey brands, renowned for its smooth taste and historic legacy, and has come to embody some of the best features of Irish history and heritage — its long lineage and its devotion to quality chief among them.


The Old Bushmills Distillery astride St. Columb's Rill in County Antrim. 

(National Library of Ireland on The Commons / Wikimedia Commons)

Bushmills is the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland, with a history that dates back to 1608 when King James I granted a license to Sir Thomas Phillips to distill whiskey in the area of the River Bush in County Antrim in what is today Northern Ireland. Whiskey has been distilled in the area since at least the 13th century, when an Irish general supposedly held a drinking session before going into battle with his troops. Bushmills itself was not officially founded until 1784, and the distillery building was constructed in 1885 and has been making the famed whiskey ever since. Today, the distillery is owned by Jose Cuervo, reflecting the growing international demand for Irish whiskey and the increasing global dominance of Irish businesses.

The Old Bushmills Distillery is a popular tourist attraction, with guided tours and tasting sessions available at the old distillery building. The distillery itself is not actually located on the River Bush, but on a tributary called Saint Columb’s Rill. The distillery has a novelty railroad as well, taking visitors to and from the Giants Causeway, located just two miles away on the Atlantic coast. The distillery sees over 100,000 visitors annually.

The tradition of distilling whiskey in Ireland dates back to the 11th century, when monks would distill whiskey from fermented barley or wheat and other grains. The word whiskey itself actually comes from the Irish language word for water, uisce, which once lent its name to a nickname of the spirit, uisce beatha, meaning water of life, similar to the Italian phrase aqua vitae, often used to connote wine.


Given that Bushmills is one of the world’s most recognizable whiskey brands, references to the company are naturally scattered throughout popular culture. Here’s a brief rundown, courtesy of Wikipedia:

  • In Rescue Me seasons 1-7 Bushmills is commonly shared in at least ten episodes.
  • In Jackie Brown, a bottle is visible in Max’s office.
  • In Independence Day, Jeff Goldblum drinks Bushmills when the end of the world is near.
  • In Better Call Saul Season 4, Bushmills is shared during Episode 6 “Pinata.”
  • NOFX, a band, mentions them in the song “Theme From a NOFX Album.”
  • Tom Waits mentions “Old Bushmills” in the song “Tom Traubert’s Blues” Rod Stewart also did a cover of the song.
  • Burt Reynolds in Hustle drinks Bushmills, it is his favorite alcohol.
  • Todd Rundgren mentions Bushmills as a poor substitute for love in “Hungry For Love” on A Wizard, A True Star.
  • In the movie The Verdict, Paul Newman orders Bushmills and water.


If you or someone you love has a relationship with this company, it’s only natural to give them a piece of it for their birthday or Christmas. If you’re looking for the best Bushmills gifts available, sells a fantastic range of items. Scroll down for our favorites, or browse the complete collectionhere.

Bushmills Wallet

For an everyday wallet that has the sleek look and feel of leather, add this wallet to your accessory collection. This wallet comes in black and is made polyurethane, which is a polymer that is light, flexible, strong, and durable. On the front is an embossed design that features the logo of the iconic Irish whiskey brand, complete with the signature image of a brick distillery building and the year it was founded, 1608. This square-shaped wallet contains slots for cards and bills, and it is finished off with tonal stitching that gives it some rugged edge. Make this sharp wallet a gift for someone who admires the iconic brand!

Bushmills Metal Sign Painting

For a creatively artistic tribute to the greatness of Bushmills whiskey, decorate your walls with this lovely painted sign. Made of durable metal, this sign can be enjoyed as a memento of the iconic whiskey and also of Ireland for years to come. This rectangular sign features a nostalgic painting of the Bushmills distillery in Ireland. Featuring vivid pastel colors and fine craftsmanship, this painting exudes a charming pastoral vibe that will add a touch of vintage style to any room.

Bushmills Bar Mat

For a useful accessory that will add some genuine Irish flair to your home bar, add this bar mat to your décor! This mat is made of PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, a synthetic plastic polymer that is strong, dense, and durable. Featured on one side of the mat is the classic Bushmills Whiskey logo in white lettering against a black background with round textured pegs that not only add stylish dimension to the mat but also create traction for slip protection. On the other side of the mat is the signature image of a brick distillery building in black against a sandy brown background. Protect your bar top with this piece of beautiful branded decoration.

Bushmills Logo Pewter Shot Glass

This glass comes in a cylindrical shot glass silhouette, and it is designed with a thick, heavy bottom for stability and a solid feel in the hand. Adding a decorative touch to this glass on the front is an emblem made of pewter, which is a durable tin alloy that does not tarnish over time as other types of metal do. Displayed in the emblem in a black that contrasts nicely with the polished hue of the pewter is the Bushmills whiskey logo. Make this shot glass a charming addition to your home bar!

Bushmills Pewter Whiskey Glass

Enjoy your Irish spirits in Irish glassware like this Pewter Whiskey Glass. This piece comes in a standard shot glass size in a unique flared silhouette that catches the eye. It is also designed with a thick, heavy bottom surface that creates a bold look and lends a hefty feel when the glass is held in the hand. Adding a decorative Irish touch to this piece is an emblem on the front made of pewter, a versatile tin alloy that does not tarnish over time as some finer metals do. The pewter emblem features the Bushmills whisky logo, complete with the signature image of a distillery at the top.

Bushmills Cotton Towel Label

Give your kitchen or home bar an authentically Irish touch with this stylish cotton towel. This towel is made of cotton, which is durable and absorbent, making it perfect for cleaning up spills and other messes in the kitchen. It also comes in a versatile black color that will match with anything in your kitchen or bar, from granite counter tops to stainless steel refrigerators.

Bushmills Spoon

For an elegant tribute to Irish culture that includes an iconic Irish whiskey brand, add this spoon to your fine dining décor. This spoon comes in a radiant gold matte antique finish that will catch anyone’s eye. Inside the bowl of the spoon is the logo of the Bushmills Whiskey brand embellished with surrounding geometric leaf patterns. Giving the stem of the spoon an authentically Celtic touch are elaborate Celtic Knots, which symbolized eternal love to the ancient Celts. Finished off with a lovely gold ribbon bow at the base of the handle, this spoon makes a great collector’s item!

Bushmills Bottle Keyring

Celebrate an internationally famous Irish whiskey brand with small but festive reminders like this keyring. This metal keyring comes in radiant gold-toned color and features two charms: a whiskey bottle charm complete with a bottle label featuring the brand logo and founding year, and a tiny gold-toned logo charm that bears the ‘Bushmills’ name in contrasting black lettering. This keyring is 70 millimeters in length and makes a great souvenir for a friend who loves Irish whiskey!