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Jameson unveils €11m visitor centre refurb

Irish Distillers has re-opened the doors to Jameson’s Dublin-based visitor centre, now called Jameson Distillery Bow Street, following an €11 million (US$11.6m) investment.

Formerly named Old Jameson Distillery, the redeveloped brand home in Smithfield offers three guided tours: The Bow Street Experience tasting tour, which focuses on Jameson’s heritage and ongoing innovations; The Whiskey Shakers, in-depth cocktail masterclass; and The Whiskey Makers, a whiskey tasting offering visitors the chance to sample whiskey straight from a cask in the site’s new maturation house.

Irish Distillers – the Irish whiskey arm of French drinks group Pernod Ricard and producer of Jameson – said the refurbishment will support the Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy target of trebling the yearly number of tourists to 1.9 million by 2025.

Speaking at the opening, minister for public expenditure and reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, said Jameson Distillery Bow Street will “undoubtedly play a central role” in delivering this vision.

“Each year, over 600,000 tourists pass through Irish whiskey visitor centres to experience first-hand the heritage behind this time-honoured spirit and hear the stories of established and emerging distilleries,” he said.

“Smithfield and its wider Dublin environs have a rich history and vibrant cultural scene which will also continue to attract and enthrall visitors from near and far.”

The Old Jameson Distillery first started distilling Jameson Irish whiskey in 1780, when it was called Bow Street Distillery. After closing in 1971 when Jameson moved production to the Midleton Distillery, the site remained unused until it was coverted into a visitor centre in 1997.

“As the home of Jameson, Smithfield has an incredibly important place in our history,” said Jean-Christophe Coutures, chairman and CEO of Irish Distillers. “We’ve grown up on Bow Street and welcomed over four million whiskey lovers through our doors since the opening of the Old Jameson Distillery brand home in 1997.

“With this latest investment, we place storytelling at the core of the visitor experience, drawing on state of the art technology to bring the 230-year history of Bow Street to life, with a variety of tour options to cater for everyone – from those who may be discovering Jameson Irish whiskey for the very first time, to long-standing Jameson enthusiasts who are seeking to further their understanding of this much-loved spirit.”

Ray Dempsey, who has been general manager at the Jameson brand home in Smithfield since its opening, said he was “delighted” with the refurbishment.

“Visitors can look forward to immersive storytelling where they will be invited to touch, smell and most importantly, taste Jameson in the original Bow St. Distillery building,” he said. “As Smithfield continues to experience a cultural resurgence, we’re incredibly excited to be part of this thriving community and look forward to being here long into the future.”

Construction was led by BRC Imagination Arts, Dublin based Architect firm TOTP Architects and Flynn Management & Contractors with approximately 100 people employed as part of the redevelopment work.

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