Ireland’s new Irish whiskey distilleries

17th March, 2014 by Becky Paskin

With so many new Irish whiskey distilleries opening over the next 12-24 months, it can be hard to keep up, which is why we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide.


Ireland is expected to have around 15 Irish whiskey distilleries within the next 24 months

Up until last year there were just four operating distilleries in Ireland, all owned by large international corporations: Kilbeggan in County Westmeath (owned by Beam), Cooley in County Louth (Beam), Bushmills in County Antrim (Diageo) and Midleton in County Cork (Pernod Ricard).

Now, with demand for Irish whiskey experiencing double-digit growth, the category is welcoming interest from a raft of newcomers, all intent on expanding the choice and quality available.

Dingle Distillery in County Kerry turned on its stills in 2012, and while its gin and vodka are currently for sale throughout the Porterhouse pub and restaurant group, its whiskey won’t be available until 2018.

Similarly, Echlinville Distillery in County Down received its license to distil whisky in May 2013. Managing director Shane Braniff is marketing the distillery’s Dunville Irish Whiskey in Europe and the US, using a consignment of liquid from another unnamed distillery that is finished and blended at Echlinville. The distillery’s own liquid however, will not be available until at least late 2016, by which time Braniff’s stock of Dunville will have long disappeared.

Echlinville also has plans to install two additional stills later this year, as well as open a visitors’ centre in 2015.

Plans for Ireland’s most southernly distillery on Horse Island were recently refused planning permission.

While there are currently seven operating distilleries in Ireland (including the Alltech facility in County Carlow), the Irish Spirits Association expects the number to grow to 15 in the next few years, and predicts exports of Irish whiskey to double to over 12 million cases by 2020 as a result.

Several have already received planning permission, and are listed on the following pages. It is St. Patrick’s Day today after all, and what better way to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland than with a toast to its distilled beverage future.

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