Jameson and Teeling close visitor centres over coronavirusBy Nicola Carruthers
A number of Irish whiskey distilleries, including Jameson and Teeling, have closed their sites to visitors temporarily to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
In the Republic of Ireland, there have been 70 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and one death. St Patrick’s Day (17 March) parades across the island of Ireland have been cancelled as a result. The US parade has also been postponed.
Ireland’s prime minister Leo Varadkar has closed all schools, colleges and other public facilities in the Republic of Ireland, effective from 6pm yesterday (12 March).
A number of distilleries have released statements in the past 24 hours regarding the closure of their sites after following government guidance.
Irish Distillers, the Irish whiskey arm of Pernod Ricard, posted a statement on Twitter yesterday evening (12 March), which explained it had taken the decision to close its Jameson Bow Street and Midleton sites from today (13 March).
Jameson is the world’s biggest Irish whiskey brand at eight million cases, with visitor numbers to its two brand homes reaching almost half a million in 2019.
The statement said: “As always, the health of our employees, along with our customers and the communities we operate within is our top priority.
“We have been monitoring the Covid-19 situation closely and following guidance from government and the HSE [Health and Safety Executive], we have made the decision to close our brand homes in Bow St, Dublin, and Midleton, County Cork, effective from close of business 12/03/2020.”
Irish Distillers said it will reopen its doors for the two sites on 30 March “or when it is appropriate to do so”. The company said it will continue to provide updates on the Jameson website and across its social media channels.
Yesterday afternoon (12 March), Dublin-based Teeling Whiskey Distillery also said on Twitter it would close its site until 29 March.
The statement said: “We are sorry to say with the increasing concerns around the spread of Covid-19 we have taken the decision to close the Teeling Whiskey Distillery to visitors from close of business tonight until the 29th March 2020.
“We are sorry for the inconvenience however the safety of our visitors and staff is our priority. We will keep you updated on this situation over the coming weeks. Stay safe.”
In addition, The Dublin Liberties Distillery followed suit and said on its Facebook page that it would also shut its site until 29 March.
The post said: “We regret to inform you, that given increasing concerns around the spread of Covid-19, and in accordance with guidance from the Irish government today, we have taken the decision to close the Dublin Liberties Distillery, from close of business this evening, until Sunday March 29th.
“The safety of our distillery team and our customers is our key priority. As this is an evolving situation, we will keep you updated on our re-opening dates.
“We are sorry for any inconvenience or disappointment caused, and we hope we can welcome you in the future to our wonderful distillery. In the meantime, stay safe and well, and we will continue to make great Irish whiskey.”
Pearse Lyons Distillery in The Liberties area of Dublin has also closed to the public until 29 March.
All of the distilleries have offered refunds or re-bookings for customers who had planned to visit during the closure period.
Jim Beam owner Beam Suntory has temporarily suspended public tours at all of its distilleries due to coronavirus, while eight Kentucky Bourbon producers have also made similar moves.
Concerns over coronavirus has also led to Glenfiddich owner William Grant & Sons closing all of its visitor centres indefinitely.