As Kilkenny celebrates its whiskey guild, Dublin’s whiskey tours are well underway and the capital is welcoming the start of construction at the Dublin Liberties Distillery, the re-opening of the Old Jameson Distillery, and the ‘next generation’ of whiskies and apprentices

On March 20th, the Dublin Liberties Distillery announced that construction work is now underway at its new distillery and visitor centre at Old Mill Street in the heart of the Liberties. The €15m project will support 50 jobs during construction with a further 19 permanent positions created once the distillery and visitor centre opens. The project will see the 300 year old historic Old Mill Street building redeveloped, conserving the original architecture of the building.

The build will take approximately 12 months to complete. The new distillery will combine traditional distillation practices with the latest in modern technologies and features a unique natural spring water source on site to be used in the distilling process. The distillery and visitor centre will open in late Spring 2018. Speaking at a ground breaking ceremony, Darryl McNally, General Manager and Master Distiller at The Dublin Liberties Distillery said their goal was for The Dublin Liberties Distillery to become one of the leading whiskey producers in Ireland. “The new distillery will provide a home for our collection of established Irish whiskey brands, including The Dubliner and The Dublin Liberties, which are on sale in over 30 international markets, from the US to Australia.” The ground breaking ceremony in The Liberties followed hot on the heals of the re-opening of The Old Jameson Distillery in Smithfield in early March. Irish Distillers is hoping that the new look Jameson Distillery Bow St. will support the Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy target of trebling the number of Irish whiskey tourists visiting Ireland annually to 1.9 million by 2025.

A Premium Experience

Three fully-guided tours are being offered at the redeveloped brand home: The Bow St. Experience 40 minute tasting tour focuses on the stories of Jameson’s heritage and on-going innovations. This tour costs €18 and includes a comparative whiskey tasting and a complimentary drink at the bar. The Whiskey Makers 90 minute tour offers a more in-depth exploration of Jameson Original and the three whiskeys that make up the Whiskey Makers Series: Distiller’s Safe, Cooper’s Croze and Blender’s Dog. At €55 per person, the tour includes the opportunity to blend your own whiskey, and a visit to an on-site maturation warehouse to sample whiskey straight from the cask. The Whiskey Shakers tour is similar to the Makers tour and, again, is around 90 minutes long at €55 per person. Rather than blending your own whiskey, participants are given the chance to blend their own cocktail with the help of in-house bartenders.

Another innovative whiskey venture, launched in January, is Dublin Whiskey Tours which mix whiskey with history, literature, music and stories and allow participants to following in the footsteps of Brendan Behan and Patrick Kavanagh as they head from bar to bar. The bars visited during the tour are Dingle Whiskey Bar, Bowes Lounge, The Palace Bar, and The Rag Trader. The tour options include a Whiskey Tasting Tour (€39 – two-hour tour with five premium whiskeys and three bars in Dublin city); a Premium Whiskey & Food tour (€49 – two-hour tour with five premium whiskeys, an Irish cheese board and handmade chocolates); and the Deluxe Whiskey & Food tour (€69 – two-hour tour, five deluxe aged statement whiskeys, Irish cheese board and handmade chocolates). The whiskey selection has been hand picked by Fionnan O’Connor who wrote ‘A Glass Apart’, the cheese board was selected with the help of Sheridans of South Anne Street, and Dublin Whiskey Tours’ chocolates are handmade by Cocoa Atelier of Drury Street.

Whiskey Bars Unite

Ten local hostelries in Kilkenny recently established the Kilkenny Whiskey Guild, an Irish whiskey tourism initiative to provide a premium Irish whiskey experience to visitors and Kilkenny locals alike. Each Guild House will have a range of 60 or more Irish whiskeys offered on bespoke menus by specially trained staff. There will be tasting trays to tempt the novice, as well as whiskey cocktails and food pairings. The Kilkenny Whiskey Guild will host monthly whiskey events and tastings across participating venues. Each of the guild houses will be designated by a specially commissioned Kilkenny Whiskey Guild plaque – Billy Byrne’s Bar, Paris Texas, The Brewery Corner, The Dylan Whisky Bar, The Hibernian Bar, Matt the Millers, Langton’s, The Left Bank, The Wine Centre and Lanigan’s Bar. The ambition is to make Kilkenny Whiskey Guild a comprehensive attraction at the forefront of Irish whiskey tourism and there are initiatives planned all the way out to the 700th anniversary of The Red Book of Ossory in 2024 to make this happen

The Next Generation

Irish Distillers has introduced a new range of experimental super premium whiskeys under the Method and Madness brand. “Method and Madness aims to harness the creativity of Midleton’s whiskey masters through the fresh talent of its apprentices,” says Brian Nation, Master Distiller at Irish Distillers. “Method and Madness is designed to reflect a next generation Irish spirit brand with a measure of curiosity and intrigue (Madness), while honouring the tradition and expertise grounded in the generations of expertise at the Midleton Distillery (Method). At the Midleton Distillery, we are committed to innovation and experimenting with new whiskey styles. We are also committed to training and nurturing the next generation of Irish whiskey makers and this project really brings that commitment to life.”  The range launches with four new Irish whiskeys, each with its own twist; a Single Grain Irish whiskey finished in Virgin Spanish Oak; a Single Pot Still Irish whiskey finished in French chestnut; a Single Malt Irish whiskey enhanced with French Limousin oak; and a 31 Year Old Single Cask, Single Grain limited edition bottled at cask strength.