Whisky Focus - Tullamore Distillery Producing Whiskey Once Again

Tullamore Distillery Producing Whiskey Once Again

17th September 2014
William Grant & Sons today officially opened its new €35 million state-of-the-art whiskey distillery in Tullamore, Co Offaly, Ireland marking the return of whiskey production to Tullamore 60 years after the original distillery closed its doors.

Tullamore D.E.W which is known the world over for its smooth and gently complex flavour added a new page to its history today. Whiskey production at Tullmore ceased back in 1954 due to a number of reasons, the effects of prohibition, two World Wars and Ireland’s economic war with Britain meant the distillery was no longer sustainable given the many export challenges at that time. In the subsequent decades production moved between the John’s Lane Distillery in Dublin and later to the Midleton Distillery in Cork.

I am pleased to tell you that today Tullumore D.E.W. Irish whiskey production returned to the the small Irish town of Tullamore when William Grant & Sons, the Scottish independent family owned distiller who purchased Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey back in 2010, officially opened a new state-of-the-art whiskey distillery in Tullamore, Co Offaly, Ireland.

After two years of construction, Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food, the Marine & Defence, Simon Coveney T.D. officially opened the new distillery by turning on the Spirit Safe to let the first spirit flow from the newly installed stills. This milestone marked the return of whiskey production to Tullamore 60 years after the original distillery closed its doors.

The Tullamore Distillery is the first new distillery to be constructed on a greenfield site in Ireland in over 100 years and is one of the most significant investments to date in the resurgent Irish whiskey sector. It is also one of the largest projects undertaken by William Grant & Sons. Located on a 58 acre site in Clonminch on the outskirts of Tullamore, the Distillery draws on the finest natural spring water from the Slieve Bloom Mountains. Tullamore Distillery will be capable of producing the equivalent of 1.5 million cases of Tullamore D.E.W. annually.

The distillery was built to meet the growing international demand for Tullamore D.E.W., which is now the second largest Irish whiskey in the world.

Commenting at the official opening ceremony Stella David, Chief Executive of William Grant & Sons Ltd said: "We are delighted to celebrate the opening of Tullamore Distillery. This new facility will secure our future production demands for the rest of the century as Irish whiskey embarks on its most exciting chapter yet. Tullamore D.E.W. is 185 years old but this is a significant day in its history as the opportunities now open to the brand are unprecedented. We are committed to Tullamore D.E.W. and are focused on building the brand and investing for the long-term."

Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine Simon Coveney said: “Irish whiskey is a star of the Irish food and drink industry and the fastest growing spirit on world markets. Today I am again impressed by the confidence of the companies investing €1 billion in Irish whiskey over a period of ten years. I was delighted to turn the sod on the site of this distillery in historic Tullamore and today, the first liquid gold flows into casks for skilful maturation with the promise of a premium product and great visitor experiences. This is something special. Government is committed to protecting the reputation and identity of Irish Whiskey, produced by an industry committed to working together to further expand exports of a sustainable, quality, uniquely Irish product."

The Tullamore Distillery combines William Grant and Sons’ 127 years of distilling knowledge and expertise with world leading innovation and technology. Production operations are headed at the facility by Process Leader, Denise Devenny.

The Distillery features four hand crafted copper stills, designed to resemble the original stills from the old Tullamore distillery, six brew house fermenters each with a 34,000 litre capacity and warehouse storage for 100,000 casks.

Another special guest at the opening was Tom McCabe (84) a former employee of the original distillery who now lives in New Jersey. Tom spent three years working as a Distiller in the distillery on Bury Quay in Tullamore town and was today reunited with his brother Fergal and sister Una, the first time all three siblings had been together in Tullamore since 1952. At the event Tom traded stories and memories with another former distillery worker and Tullamore resident, Paddy Lowbridge (90).

Caspar MacRae, Global Brand Director, Tullamore D.E.W. also commented: "Tullamore D.E.W.’s success is built on its resilience, optimism and progress - attributes that have certainly led us to the opening of Tullamore Distillery today. In many ways this is a 'Parting Glass’ moment for the brand as we toast achievements of the past and raise a glass to an exciting new chapter in our future. This development has been met with great anticipation in our markets around the world - with consumers in Central Europe, the Nordics, North America and emerging markets like South Africa and Russia keenly following the success of Tullamore D.E.W. and Irish whiskey."

The construction project was led by William Grant & Sons’ Head Engineer, John Stevenson, with more than 1,200 specialist distillery engineers and construction workers spending a combined 475,000 working days to complete the build on-schedule and on-budget. William Grant & Sons is an important employer in the Tullamore area with people employed locally between the distillery and the Tullamore D.E.W. Visitor Centre while William Grant & Sons currently employs over 90 people in Ireland – in Tullamore, Clonmel and Dublin.

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