Clonakilty becomes Ireland’s 23rd operational distilleryBy Melita Kiely
Cork-based Clonakilty Distillery has joined the ever-expanding Irish whiskey sector by becoming the 23rd operational distillery in Ireland.
Today (5 March), Clonakilty Distillery has officially started distilling and has opened its visitor centre to the public.
The site also boasts a gin school and bistro restaurant – called The Whale’s Tail – and is expecting to attract 35,000 visitors each year.
In 2018, global sales of Irish whiskey surpassed 10.5 million cases – the first time the category has broken the 10m-case barrier since before Prohibition in the US in the 1920s.
William Lavelle, head of the Irish Whiskey Association, welcomed the distillery to the rapidly growing sector.
He said: “We are delighted to see Clonakilty Distillery open its doors and commence production of Irish whiskey.
“It’s a welcome addition to Irish whiskey distilling, as the 23rd operational distillery on the island of Ireland and the second distillery to commence operations this year.
“Last year we saw 923,000 tourists visit Irish whiskey distillery visitor centres across the country. We expect this number to grow again in 2019.
“Clonakilty Distillery will play a strong role in driving this growth, educating Irish and overseas visitors on the heritage and innovation of today’s booming Irish whiskey industry.”