Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Whisky renaissance is good news for Ireland

Post Thumbnail

It seems the great distillery renaissance that is sweeping Scotland and England is also sweeping across the whole of Ireland. That is good news, as Ireland saw its whiskey industry decimated nearly a century ago by a string of cruel circumstances.

The first world war closed almost all distilleries throughout these islands. They all reopened in 1918 but US Prohibition in 1920 hit Irish distilling hard, as the US was its key market. After the bitter civil war and creation of the Irish Free State in 1922, Britain vindictively blocked all imports of Irish whiskey. Ironically, that also hit Northern Ireland’s distilleries. The end result was near-total collapse.

Of some 30 distilleries visited by the great Alfred Barnard in the 1880s, by the 1960s just four survived—Bushmills in Co Antrim, Jameson’s and Power’s in Dublin and Midleton in Co Cork, the latter three all ailing. Between 1966 and 1972 they formed the Irish Distillers Group (IDG), closed the Dublin distilleries and built a vast new complex at Midleton.

In 1988, IDG was acquired by Pernod-Ricard who then sold Bushmills to Diageo in 2005. The brand Tullamore Dew went to William Grant, who opened a vast new distillery near Tullamore, and Paddy’s was recently sold to the US’s Sazerac.

However, much credit for the Irish distilling revival must go to Dr John Teeling, who in the 1980s opened Cooley near Dundalk, Co Louth, in a former plant that made industrial alcohol from low-grade potatoes. He struggled initially, even briefly closed the distillery, but went on to produce such noted brands as The Tyrconnell and Connemara, plus dozens of supermarkets’ own-brand Irish whiskies being sold throughout Europe. Cooley also revamped Locke’s distillery at Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath.

In 2011 Cooley was bought by Jim Beam, who in 2014 were acquired by Suntory, now Beam Suntory. John Teeling left Cooley and today runs his own, mainly grain, distillery in Dundalk (in a former Harp lager brewery, no less) while in 2015 his son launched Dublin’s first new distillery in 120 years. Sited in the Liberties district, it has already made a strong name for itself.

However, the wider story is the many independent distilleries that have sprung up throughout Ireland since 2000. They will be portrayed next week.


Already a subscriber? Sign in



More from The Courier Food & Drink team

More from The Courier