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Tullamore distillery opens for business
Published:  17 September, 2014

William Grant & Sons' new €37 million distillery in the small Irish town of Tullamore, officially opened on September 17.

The facility will be able to produce initially 1.84 million litres of pure alcohol (approximately 900,000 cases, 11m bottles). Phase two will take it to approximately 3.6mla. The 58-acre site includes two 5,000 square metre warehouses capable of accommodating 50,000 casks. There is room for a further 11 warehouses.

Grant's master blender, Brian Kinsman, said phase two, which will also include the building of a grain distillery and more pot stills, "will probably be next year".

Wm Grant bought the Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey brand in 2010.

At the moment grain and pot still whiskey comes from Irish Distillers' Midleton distillery in Cork and the malt comes from Diageo's Bushmills distillery in Northern Ireland under a long standing arrangement forged before ID including Bushmills, was sold to Pernod Ricard. Whiskey from Tullamore will eventually go into the Dew blend, ultimately replacing the whiskey from Midleton and Bushmills

The company has indicated that there will be new expressions and new Irish whiskey brands emanating from the Tullamore distillery. There is speculation that it may produce vodka and gin as well, which would give much needed cash flow while the whiskeys are ageing.

European oak sherry butts and ex-bourbon casks have already started arriving at the site in Clonminch which is 12km from Tullamore town itself.

The company looked initially at 57 sites, narrowing it down to 14 and then to three. The Tullamore facility stands on a peat bog. Two thousand five hundred piles had to be driven into the bog to provide the foundations.

Planning permission was granted at the start of 2013. The first sod was turned in May and the steels started to be erected the following September. Water is piped from nearby mountain springs 14km away.

The distillery employs 14 personnel while the visitor centre has 22 staff, virtually all local.