Baileys facts: 10 things you didn’t know about the Irish liqueur

Here are 10 fascinating facts you probably didn’t know about Baileys Irish liqueur.

Baileys facts: 10 things you didn't know about the Irish liqueur

When it comes to drinks, there are few more Irish than Baileys—except for the obvious Guinness. Invented by Tom Lago of Gilbeys of Ireland in 1973, the liquor has quickly conquered the world and accounts for more than 50 percent of all spirits exports from Ireland today.

But what’s in the bottle, where does it come from, and did it make its creator a billionaire? Find out in our round-up of ten fascinating Baileys facts below.

10. Baileys was named after a restaurant in London

Baileys facts include the fact that Baileys was named after a restaurant in London

While Baileys is clearly branded as Irish today, back in the day, the company thought a name relating to both Britain and Ireland would be a better boost for overseas sales.

David Gluckman, the leading technical inventor in the team who also helped create the Kerrygold butter in the early 1960s, came up with the signature name when he stumbled upon a restaurant in London called “Bailey’s Bistro.”

9. The first Baileys was mixed in a kitchen blender

Baileys facts include the fact that the first Baileys was mixed in a kitchen blender

It all started with an ordinary kitchen mixer! According to the official Baileys facts, the original drink was made using a Kenwood mixer. You probably have one at home, too, so should you absolutely crave a Baileys and all the shops are closed, put whiskey, cream, chocolate, and vanilla in the blender and try your luck.

8. Baileys’ secret is chocolate

Baileys facts include the fact that Bailey's secret is Cadbury's drinking chocolate

David Gluckman claims in his tell-all “it will sell!” that he found the original mix of cream and whiskey “bloody awful.” However, instead of giving up on it, he and his colleague Hugh Seymour-Davies added some sugar and Cadbury’s Powdered Drinking Chocolate, and it took them roughly 45 minutes to find the perfect formula.

While the recipe was slightly tweaked before Baileys hit the shelves, the chocolate remained.

7. All the cream comes from Irish cows

Baileys facts include the fact that all the cream in Baileys comes from Irish cows

Baileys contains 50% cream, and it’s 100% Irish. Each year, more than 220 million litres of fresh milk are used to make the popular liquor, coming from Irish dairy cows mainly living on the east coast of Ireland.

The cows are jokingly referred to as the “Baileys ladies,” and the company claims they spend 300 days a year outside and even get to listen to their favourite playlists (we would definitely be interested in hearing those songs!). 

6. Men called Baileys a “girl’s drink”

Some men think of Bailey's as a girl's drink
Credit: @moustachic / Instagram

The first rounds of testing did not go too well for Baileys. In a group of all-male testers, one guy called the liquor a “girl’s drink” and left the others with little choice than to nod along. After all, they didn’t want to admit that they liked a drink that might question their masculinity (they still finished their glasses though!).

The female testing round was little more encouraging, with one woman suggesting Baileys tasted like Kaolin & Horphone, a well-known medicine for diarrhoea. Today, however, the liquor is equally popular with men and women.

5. Its inventor only made 3,500 euros

Baileys facts include the fact that the inventor did not become a billionaire

The Baileys brand is worth billions, but its main inventor only made peanuts in comparison. “We were paid about 3.000 sterling all-in for the development”, Gluckman confessed in an interview.

At least, it granted him job security for life: He worked at the company for another 30 years.

4. Baileys is a hit among millennials

MIllenials love Baileys
Credit: @audrey_tait / Instagram

Some sceptics still call it an “old people’s drink,” but official Baileys facts and surveys show that more than 60 percent of all consumers are actually under 35 years old.

The younger the fan, the more they love to experiment with the liquor. Baileys cocktails, cupcakes, and ice cream rank among the favourites.

3. The liqueur has a two-year shelf life

Baileys is guaranteed to last two years
Credit: @kimshithead / Instagram

While our supply usually doesn’t last as long (and yours probably won’t either), in theory, you could keep your Baileys for up to two years, with the company guaranteeing it won’t lose its taste. And that even applies to opened bottles!

Keep the Baileys away from direct sunlight and store it at a temperature of 0-25 degrees centigrade. After opening it, it needs to go into the fridge (or your glass).

2. There’s a vegan Baileys too

Baileys Almande is vegan
Credit: @chere_gnst / Instagram

Thanks to its heavy cream-using, Baileys had been a strict no-go for vegans for over 40 years. However, times are changing and with more and more people going on an animal-free diet, Baileys introduced a vegan version of its signature drink in 2017.

Baileys Almande is made of sweet almond oil and almond essence, cane sugar, purified water and real vanilla – and it’s just as tasty as the dairy-version.

1. People around the world drink Baileys – a lot

Baileys is popular worldwide
Credit: Instagram / @baileysofficial

Baileys is officially the most popular liqueur worldwide these days. Sold in 160 countries around the globe (basically every country where alcohol is legal), it is so popular that 2,300 glasses are consumed every single minute! So, no matter what time of the day you take a sip, you can be sure to be in great company.