Irish Distilleries

It’s mind-blowing that Ireland which boasts such great whiskey has so few Distilleries.
In the past it had hundreds of distilleries but now for a number of reasons it has only three legal distilleries remain in Ireland today.

These are;
Bushmills Distillery in Co. Antrim Northern Ireland
Cooley Distillery in Co. Louth, Midleton Distillery in Co. Cork
Two of these distilleries, both Bushmills and Midleton are part of the Irish Distillers Group with Cooley Distillery the only source of independent Irish whiskey.
There are also two Distillery Museums located on the sites of former distilleries The Jameson's old Bow Street Distillery in Dublin, and Locke's Distillery Museum in Kilbeggan Co. Westmeath.

Why has Ireland seen the disappearance of Distilleries?
In Ireland there has always been a problem with the small home market.
There were high taxes placed on Whiskey. Many of the distilleries were both outdated and inefficient. Lack of wealth saw many people in rural Irish areas buy homemade whiskey from the local maker. This illegal whiskey was made from potatoes, and better known as Poitin. So really it became a case of survival of the fittest -forcing many old distilleries into extinction

Irish distillers made the mistake of regarding blended whiskey produced by the Scotch distillers as an inferior product. This cheaper method of production and the "lighter" taste of these blended whiskeys however developed a following in both the British and American markets.

During the Second World War. American soldiers developed a taste for these blends which they brought back with them on their return from the war. Thus creating a huge demand for the Scotch whisky.
Once again the Irish pot still distillers were handicapped by their reluctance to change to these new methods of production resulting in further decline of the Irish Whiskey industry.

The general picture of whiskey distilling in Ireland over the last 100 years is a sad one of steady decline. The number of distilleries in Ireland decreased:
From 26 in 1924 to only 5 in 1937. Until recently when Cooley Distillery was opened in the mid 1980s only two other distilleries remained in production, the Old Bushmills Distillery in county Antrim and the Midleton Distillery in Co. Cork both owned by the Irish distillers Group.

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