Irish leader Enda Kenny visited the Irish Distillers’ distillery in Midleton, Co. Cork to officially open the newly expanded distillery. The aim of the expansion is to double production capacity in the distillery to 64 million litres of pure alcohol.
The $132 million (€100 million) expansion which began in May 2012, is in response to the continued growth of Jameson worldwide. In the year end to end June 2012, Jameson sale volumes reached 4.3 million cases; the equivalent of 51 million bottles.
The distillery in Midleton where Jameson is produced reached full capacity and in order to cater for future forecasted growth, $132 million was invested by Irish Distillers in the Midleton Distillery. A further €100 million was also invested in the construction of a nearby maturation facility in Dungourney, bringing the total investment to $164 million.
The new distillery is located on the 128 acre site and is one of the largest projects undertaken by the company since it was formed in 1966. As part of the investment, 350 construction jobs were created. A further sixty permanent manufacturing and technical jobs created; thirty at the Midleton Distillery, and a further thirty in the Fox and Geese bottling plant in Dublin, bringing the company’s total employee numbers in Ireland to 560.
As a product that is distilled, matured and bottled in Ireland, a very significant proportion of all the inputs required to produce, distribute, sell and market Jameson are Irish and the value to the local economy is immense. At least 80% of the products and services needed for the construction of the new distillery were sourced using local builders, contractors and engineers. The local agricultural environment will also benefit greatly from the expansion. The Distillery currently spends in excess of $79 million annually on cereals, energy, capital projects and payroll in the local economy and this is set to rise as sales continue to grow.
Speaking at the event, The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, said: "I am delighted to return to Midleton to mark the official opening of the new Distillery. Last year I turned the sod marking the start of this expansion and it is a great pleasure to be back to see the vision become a reality. This Government is determined to get Ireland back working and while recent job creation figures are encouraging, it remains the case that there are too many people out of work. I and my Government are working relentlessly through the Action Plan for Jobs to meet this challenge. We will succeed. The success of Jameson is to be admired and is illustrated by the staggering figure of 4 million cases annually exported. This success is built on tradition, hard work and investment and as the Irish agrifood sector continues to grow and expand, the Jameson story, which is one of drive and determination, is one worth noting and sharing. "
Speaking at the event, Anna Malmhake, CEO and Chairman of Irish Distillers said: “The company is proud to play its role in the Irish drinks industry, which is a hugely important part of the Irish economy with annual exports of almost €1.3 billion, a value added contribution of €2 billion, and a tax contribution of €1.8 billion by consumers. Jameson is a real Irish success story, having achieved 24 years of consecutive volume growth. As one of Ireland’s most successful exports, Jameson and Irish Distillers are playing their roles in the export led recovery of the economy.”
She continued, “This is a fantastic day for Midleton, for Irish Distillers – and for Irish business. The €100 million investment in Midleton, the home of Irish whiskey production, is a reflection of the growing international success of Jameson. In 1988, Jameson sold 466 thousand cases globally. Now, 30 glasses of Jameson are consumed every second around the world. This expansion signifies a great day in the history of Jameson and Irish Distillers and we look forward to building upon our success story here in Midleton by continuing to bring innovative facets of Irish whiskey to the market.”
An Taoiseach marked the opening by unveiling a customised plaque at the newly built Garden Stillhouse, so named because of its location in the garden of the old distillers cottage. The stills housed in the iconic glass building, are exact replicas of the pot stills in the old stillhouse and have been hand made for the company to the original design by Richard Forsyth in Rothes, Speyside. Midleton is the only distillery in Ireland to have retained the traditional Pot Still style of Irish Whiskey distilling.
The official opening with An Taoiseach launched the beginning of a wider day of festivities at the famous distillery which welcomed approximately 1,000 people through its gates during the day. With friends from all across the world invited to celebrate ‘The Irish Distillers Housewarming’, the company opened the doors to its key supporters for an afternoon of activities including; Irish whiskey tastings, live music and an artisanal food village showcasing the best of Irish food and craft.