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Irish Whiskey Gaining in Popularity Across America

(CNN) — It’s Saint Patrick’s day weekend and as many get set to celebrate Irish heritage, they may be raising a different glass this year.

Irish whiskey is one of the hottest pours in the U.S. right now.

Parades, bagpipes, the wearing of the green and a toast to all things Irish.

Here at The Dubliner, the Irish pub near Capitol Hill where President Obama raised a pint of Guinness last year, general manager Gavin Coleman says revelers will drink plenty of the Irish brew, but there’s increasingly another request at the bar, not just in March, but year-round.

“A lot of people have ties to Irish whiskey, whether they have an Irish ancestry or you know, a trip to Ireland that they loved and they tried it over there and they come in to The Dubliner and they want to relive that experience again,” says Coleman.

Irish whiskey was the fastest-growing segment of spirits in this country in 2012, according to numbers from the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., up more than 22 percent for the year, and ringing up $415 million in revenue.

Over the last decade sales have quadrupled, thanks to some Irish-american pride, but also a smoother, triple-distilled taste that makes it more palatable to a whiskey novice. There are also more blends, flavors and styles and growth at the higher end of the market.

Coleman adds, “Twenty years ago, if you came into The Dubliner, there might have been found three or four Irish whiskeys that you could have tried. Now we just kind of have a little sample here, there’s 10 of them.”

As for how to drink it, there’s always neat or in an Irish coffee, but its flavor has also made it a favorite in cocktails like this Irish sunset, shaking up Saint Paddy’s day with more ways to raise a glass, than just green beer.

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