WORK has begun on a €35m distillery to bring one of the world's best-selling whiskies back to its roots.
Tullamore Dew production will return to a pot still and malt distillery on a 58- acre site near Clonminch, Co Offaly for the first time since 1954.
Up to 200 jobs will be created during construction of the plant which will be big enough to produce 1.84 million litres or 1.5 million cases of whiskey a year.
Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, turned the sod on the new plant.
"For many years, Irish whiskey has been one of the strongest and most distinctive products in the world, renowned for its quality and heritage, with a dual impact in terms of our exports and tourism. Tullamore Dew is one of the key drivers of this success," he said.
Twenty-five people will be employed at the distillery.
The investment is being made by Tullamore Dew's parent company, William Grant & Sons, as the brand has almost doubled its worldwide sales to 850,000 cases since 2005.
The distillery will open in autumn next year with two warehouses to hold 55,000 casks of whiskey and 14km of piping to bring water into the distillery.
Stella David, William Grant & Sons' chief executive, said the new distillery would meet demand for the whiskey around the world.
"When we acquired the brand in 2010 we felt it was important to strengthen the link with Tullamore, which we have done through the distillery and the new Tullamore Dew Visitor Centre which reopened last year," she said.
William Grant & Sons employs more than 90 people in Ireland - in Tullamore, Clonmel and Dublin.