The Irish Brandy Houses of Eighteenth-Century France
The Irish traders in beef and butter who settled in the Charente area moved on to the rapidly growing brandy trade by the mid-eighteenth century. As world demand for brandy grew with urbanization and economic welfare, so did new markets develop for those families with contacts in Dublin and France's western seaboard.
The struggles of families such as Hennessy, Saule and Jennings, Otard, Galwey and Delamain are described in the pivotal period 1760-1793, when Ireland 'fleetingly became the central point of the international brandy business'. Family connections and intermarriage, trading problems, marketing and finance are detailed by Professor Cullen, against the background of a burgeoning French economy. This regional specialization by foreign merchants who went on to became household names is a fascinating study by Ireland's leading economic historian.
LOUIS M. CULLEN is Professor of Modern Irish History at Trinity College, Dublin. His many books include The Brandy Trade under the Ancien Régime (1998).