Business Irish

Sunday 20 August 2017

Some of what I've achieved is down to faith and luck, but you have to push yourself forward

What I wish I'd known before I started: Darryl McNally, general manager, Dublin Liberties Distillery

Darryl McNally, general manager, Dublin Liberties Distillery
Darryl McNally, general manager, Dublin Liberties Distillery

When people ask me about my job I say I have the best job in the world - travelling around the globe, telling people about my whiskey blends and creations, and The Dublin Liberties Distillery story. My parents owned a pub in Magilligan in Co Derry, so I was born into the drinks industry.

Some of my earliest memories are collecting glasses in the bar. I remember my first taste of Irish whiskey. I was 19 years old, home from university in London for Christmas and I had a couple of hot whiskeys. My father taught me to give it the respect it deserves and that has always stuck with me.

I never thought I would end up where I am today. I was thinking of becoming a doctor or a pharmacist, but I studied accountancy as I felt it would open more doors. Accountancy wasn't for me and at 23 I started working in Bushmills Distillery.

What advice would I give to that 23-year-old? Not to change a thing. I put some of what I've achieved down to faith and luck, but you also have to push yourself forward when opportunities become available.

There has not been one day in the last 18 years when I did not want to go into work and tell the Irish whiskey story. I worked in procurement, the supply chain, and later as warehouse manager where I was given the chance to get involved in the whiskey-making process, blending innovative tastes under the watchful eye of my mentor, master distiller Colum Egan. To be a good master distiller you need to understand every aspect of the distillery process. I had worked in all areas and the last link in the chain was to get a technical biochemistry qualification.

In 2015 I joined Quintessential Brands to lead the €10m investment in The Dublin Liberties Distillery and develop a new whiskey distillery and visitor centre at Old Mill Street in the heart of the Liberties. We will have the first new spirit flowing from the stills in 2018.

Our goal is for the Dublin Liberties Distillery to become one of the leading whiskey producers in Ireland.

Our plans are well underway with established brands including The Dubliner and The Dublin Liberties on sale around the world.

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