Breaking: Keith Kelly, Whiskey and a St. Patrick’s Day Scandal?

kelly_collins_whiskey.gifWhile some of us were gearing up for tonight’s 3rd Annual Kelly Gang St. Patrick’s Day Benefit at Michael’s, one of the benefit’s founders, NY Post‘s Media Inker Keith Kelly, appears to have had a bit of a jolly error in judgment.

The Sidney Frank Importing Co. is debuting its new Michael Collins Irish Whiskey at the party tonight, according to a spokesperson for the company. Which sounds like a great promotion for the $100 a head benefit.

But then we were suddenly reminded of Kelly’s column in the Post. About Sidney Frank Importing Co. debuting its new Michael Collins Irish Whiskey. In which he called the whiskey “revolutionary.” Today:

REVOLUTIONARY IRISH WHISKEY

By KEITH J. KELLY

March 17, 2006 — This week, Sidney Frank Importing Company is taking off the wraps on Michael Collins Irish Whiskey, the first major new entry in the category in years.

The hope is that a mid-March boost from Irish Americans will help propel its newest brand beyond of the ethnic market and into the same kind of super premium hit as Grey Goose vodka, Jagermeister and tequila had been earlier for the savvy marketers. It is no small undertaking. Traditionally, Irish Whiskey has lagged far behind its whisky cousins, Scotch, Canadian, Bourbon and blended whiskeys.

Surely Kelly would’ve included a disclosure about the party, right?

Well, umm, no.

Says a ‘bowl e-mailer: “So, basically, he just gave the brand X dollars worth of publicity in exchange for an alcohol sponsorship of his party? WTF?”

We tried getting ahold of him, but trying to find a Kelly in the office on St. Patrick’s Day is like tracking a Bin Laden. But we’ll be sure to ask him about it tonight, particularly after a few cocktails — generously provided by the Sidney Frank Importing Company, naturally.

REVOLUTIONARY IRISH WHISKEY [NYP]
Michael Collins Irish Whiskey

UPDATE: We did find a mention of Sidney Frank’s sponsorship of the party — in Kelly’s regular column. Both were on the same page in the print version, but you’d have to be both sober and reading carefully to put it all together, as the mention was buried in the second-to-last graf:

A special thanks to Rubenstein Inc., Manhattan Beer Distributors and Sidney Frank Importing.