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Diageo sells Dundalk Brewery to Cooley founder John Teeling

Diageo has sold its Great Northern Brewery in Dundalk, Ireland to John Teeling, former owner of the Cooley Distillery, in a move that will see the return of Irish whiskey production for third party brands.

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Diageo’s sale of the Great Northern Brewery will help Irish whiskey supply gain pace by 2017

Having formed the Irish Whiskey Company (IWC) with his sons Jack and Stephen, as well as with former Cooley directors Jim Finn and David Hynes, Teeling has agreed to take over the Great Northern Brewery site in Dundalk when Diageo moves its brewing operations to St James Gate in September.

IWC intends to start operations at the site in early 2014, using some of the existing equipment to create grain, pot still and malt Irish whiskey and making a “significant investment” in additional modifications and equipment.

The new group expects to start distilling in the third quarter of 2014 with the first mature whiskey available for retail in 2017.

With limited supply of Irish whiskey on the market since Beam Inc switched Cooley’s focus to its own brands, cutting all third party supply contracts, Teeling is keen to build IWC as as an “efficient low cost quality whiskey distiller to supply… the private label and bulk whiskey sectors as well as to the emerging craft distilling sector”.

“Irish Whiskey sales continue to grow at double digit rates – a trend that is expected to continue.  As the industry grows, segments emerge. IWC will supply segments not currently served at all or at best poorly served. Dundalk will be an efficient, low cost quality distillery.”

Diageo is currently in the process of making the Great Northern Brewery site, which has produced Harp Lager, environmentally safe for the hand over.

Diageo is delighted that the Great Northern Brewery site is being acquired by IWC,” said Paul Armstrong, supply director brewing, international supply centre, Diageo. “This is a vote of confidence in Dundalk and will help to ensure that the town remains an important economic hub in the North-East.”

The Teeling Whiskey Company (TWC) formed by Jack and Stephen Teeling, will continue to run as a seperate entity, and will continue with plans to create a distillery in Dublin.

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