In September 2013, the Midleton Distillery in Co Cork formally launched its €100m expansion. Since the mid-1970s, the four massive pot stills and seven column stills at the site had been the engine that drove Irish whiskey’s growth across the world. The success of the Jameson brand, in particular, meant that it was time to invest to meet demand, doubling the distillery’s capacity to an astonishing 64 million litres of alcohol per year.
The distillery is high-tech, but still produces an impressive range of whiskeys with great craft and character. It was designed to produce and mature pot still and grain spirit for three of the then four remaining Irish distillers, who joined forces in 1966 to tackle Irish whiskey’s spiralling decline.
As part of the plan, Jameson’s Bow Street and Powers John’s Lane stills would fall silent, ending the era of whiskey distilling in Dublin, once the world’s greatest whiskey distilling city.
And so, one September day in 1975, production stopped at the old facility and moved a few hundred yards to the new one. A new chapter in Irish distilling history had begun.
From the time the new stills took up the baton until only very recently, the Midleton Distillery was the only source of traditional pure pot still Irish whiskey, for many is the quintessential style of Irish whiskey. It forms the heart of the Jameson and Power’s blends and can be experienced in all its glory in the likes of Redbreast, Green Spot and Yellow Spot.
In the 1920s, a seven-year-old pure pot still whiskey was the company’s flagship brand. The new distillery, however, has added considerably to the range, producing an ever-expanding range of Jameson, Power’s, Midleton, Tullamore Dew and many more whiskeys.
The Old Midleton Distillery is now perfectly preserved as a visitors’ centre and museum.