The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D. has officially ‘turned the sod’ on the new Tullamore pot still whiskey and malt whiskey distillery being built by William Grant & Sons Ltd. in Tullamore, Co Offaly.
The state of the art distillery, which opens in autumn 2014, will bring whiskey production back to the town exactly 60 years since the original distillery closed in 1954.
The initial $46 million (€35m) investment will meet the long-term production demands for Tullamore D.E.W., the world’s second largest Irish whiskey brand, which is currently growing by over 20% annually. Tullamore D.E.W. has recently won several major awards – the 12 Year Old Special Reserve won the coveted ‘Master’ medal at the Irish Whiskey Masters and a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2013. Tullamore D.E.W. Original also won a Gold Medal at the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) 2013.
The new distillery sits on a 58 acre site at Clonminch on the outskirts of Tullamore and the project is supporting in the region of 200 jobs at peak times during the construction phase. The distillery, which is being constructed by Dunne (BCE) Limited, an Irish subsidiary of the Dunne Group, will combine traditional distillation practices with the very latest in modern and green technologies.
When combined with the new Tullamore D.E.W. Visitor Centre, which reopened late last year following a multi-million euro redevelopment, the total number employed by William Grant & Sons in the town will rise to 25.
Speaking at the turning of the sod ceremony, Minister Coveney said: “I am delighted to be here today to ‘turn the sod’ on the new Tullamore Distillery. For many years, Irish whiskey has been one of the strongest and most distinctive products in the world, renowned for its quality and heritage, with a dual impact in terms of our exports and tourism. Tullamore D.E.W. is one of the key drivers of this success. I would like to commend William Grant & Sons for its commitment to the town of Tullamore where it is investing significantly to ensure that Tullamore D.E.W. is coming back to its roots.”
William Grant & Sons’ Chief Executive, Stella David said: “Our team is working extremely hard on the new distillery. This investment ensures that we can cope with demand as the brand continues to grow globally. As the second largest selling Irish whiskey worldwide, Tullamore D.E.W. plays a significant role in the success of our overall business. When we acquired the brand in 2010 we felt it was important to strengthen the link with Tullamore, which we have done through the distillery and the new Tullamore D.E.W. Visitor Centre which reopened last year. We are proud to be bringing whiskey distilling back to Tullamore for the first time in 60 years.”
Tullamore D.E.W. has doubled worldwide sales to almost 850,000 (9L) cases since 2005. The plan for a new distillery has been prompted by the brand’s rapid growth, driven largely by increased consumer demand for Irish whiskey in the USA and emerging Irish whiskey markets such as Germany, Sweden and Eastern Europe where the brand already occupies a leadership position and is outperforming its competitors.
William Grant & Sons currently employs over 90 people in Ireland – in Tullamore, Clonmel and Dublin.