Irish entrepreneur Illan Power – kicked out of school to millionaire

Illan Power Irish millioanire

An Irish entrepreneur has spoken about how he went from being kicked out of school to selling his whiskey brand for millions of dollars.

Illlan Power showed his business instinct from a young age, when he was selling chocolate bars to his schoolmates back home in Carlow.

Unfortunately, he was undercutting the local businesses and it was against the rules, and Power was “politely asked” to leave the school, in his words.

Less than ten years later, Power was selling his multi-million dollar whiskey brand to international drinks giant Bacardi.

Power had built up his whiskey brand Angel’s Envy on the back of a charming story that dates back generations in whiskey distilleries.

When whiskey is distilled, it is placed into barrels for up to three years. In this time, a small percentage disappears and when the barrel is ready to be opened there is slightly less whiskey than there was at the start.

No-one knows where this percentage goes, and it is known in the industry as the ‘angel’s share’.

Power recognised the appeal of this legend, and built his own whiskey brand Angel’s Envy. He managed to get it into bars and stores in more than a dozen US states and saw his business go from zero to $60m in no time.

Power described his experiences in a fascinating interview with The Capital B. Although things have worked out well for him, it was not always plain sailing.

He also talks about one of his earlier ventures which failed due to a trademark dispute with one of his competitors.

It left him thousands of pounds out of pocket, and losing the trust and support of several valued contacts and members of his team.

Power left all that behind, and headed to America to make a success of Angel’s Envy. He revealed that a free bottle of whiskey for every barman he saw played a huge part in getting his brand into their pubs.

Power was speaking on The Capital B, a weekly business podcast from . The show also features former Apprentice contestant Roisin Hogan. You can listen to it in full below. Power’s interview begins around 44 minutes into the podcast.

Written by Andrew Moore