Yesterday, 17th September, William Grant & Sons Ltd., the independent family owned distiller and owner of Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey, officially opened its new €35 million 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. Distilling began in Tullamore 185 years ago and this is a significant day for both the town and Tullamore D.E.W. as the opportunities now open to the category are unprecedented. We are committed to Tullamore D.E.W. and are focused on building the brand and investing for the long-term. ”
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.
Pictured at the opening are William Grant & Sons CEO, Stella David with fifth generation Grant family member Peter Gordon.