Tullamore D.E.W., the world's second largest Irish whiskey today celebrated the opening of its new €35m distillery in its hometown of Tullamore in the Irish midlands. As the first spirit flowed from the stills, to the cheers of hundreds of invited guests, the milestone marked the return of whiskey production to the town; 60 years after the original distillery closed its doors.
"This is a true 'Parting Glass' moment for Tullamore D.E.W., as we raise a glass to celebrate the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our 185 year history", said Tullamore D.E.W. Global Brand Director Caspar MacRae. "Irish whiskey is the fastest growing spirits category in the world right now and our new distillery will enable us to meet our production needs over the coming decades". The Tullamore Distillery is the first new distillery to be constructed on a greenfield site in Ireland in over 100 years and is one of the most exciting accomplishments to date in the Irish whiskey renaissance.
Among the special guests at the opening celebrations were the winners of the #PartingGlass competition, a global online search for the best toasts to mark the beginning of life's new chapters. This exciting competition attracted hundreds of entries from around the world and was one of the most talked about social media campaigns of the summer. The winners joined a host of international guests and the Irish Government Minister, Simon Coveney T.D. who returned to open the facility having turned the sod on the distillery 12 months previous.
Also returning to Tullamore for the opening celebrations was Tom McCabe (84) a former employee of the original distillery who now lives in New Jersey, U.S.A. Tom spent three years working as a distiller in the original distillery before immigrating to America and was today reunited with his brother Fergal and sister Una, the first time all three siblings had been together in Tullamore since 1952. At the event Tom traded stories and memories with another former distillery worker and lifelong Tullamore resident, Paddy Lowbridge (90).
Commenting at the official opening ceremony Irish Government Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine Simon Coveney T.D. said, "Irish Whiskey is a star of the Irish food and drink industry and the fastest growing spirit on world markets. Today I am again impressed by the confidence of the companies investing €1 billion in Irish whiskey over a period of ten years. I was delighted to turn the sod on the site of this distillery in historic Tullamore and today, the first liquid gold flows into casks for skilful maturation with the promise of a premium product and great visitor experiences. This is something special. Government is committed to protecting the reputation and identity of Irish whiskey, produced by an industry committed to working together to further expand exports of a sustainable, quality, uniquely Irish product."
John Quinn, Tullamore D.E.W., Global Brand Ambassador also commented, "This new distillery brings Tullamore D.E.W. back to its origins. We are incredibly proud of the Tullamore Distillery and know that its opening has been awaited with great anticipation in our key markets throughout the world. We look forward to building on our great success to date and helping new fans all around the world discover the magic of Tullamore D.E.W.."
To commemorate the rising of the Distillery, Tullamore D.E.W. unveiled the very limited release of 2014 bottles of Tullamore D.E.W. Celebratory Phoenix Single Batch an exclusive expression of the Tullamore D.E.W. Phoenix range. The Phoenix is a highly appropriate symbol for Tullamore and Tullamore D.E.W.. It is featured on the town's coat of arms honouring the courageous rebuilding of the town after it was largely destroyed by fire following a devastating hot air balloon accident in 1785 and is a symbol of resilience, optimism and progress; attributes that have led to the opening of Tullamore Distillery.
The Tullamore Distillery features four hand crafted copper stills, designed to resemble the original stills from the old distillery; six brew house fermenters each with a 34,000 litre capacity; and warehouse storage for 100,000 casks. Tullamore Distillery draws the finest natural Irish water from the nearby Slieve Bloom Mountains and will be capable of producing the equivalent of 1.5 million cases of Tullamore D.E.W. annually.