independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Whiskey making returns to roots

US DISTILLER COMES TO CARLOW

THERE'S A saying that what goes around comes around and in the case of the Carlow Brewing Company that is literally the case.

The company has joined forces with US-based company Alltech to distill Irish whiskey in County Carlow.

Alltech's founder Dr Pears Lyons described it as bringing whiskey full-circle by taking its production from the US to Ireland, where the drink's history first began.

Seamus O'Hara, managing director the Carlow Brewing Company, said the partnership between the two companies may lead to jobs creation in the future.

' This is an opportunity that we are delighted to explore and we've been working very closely with Alltech to get the venture off the ground,' he said.

Alltech's Craft Distillery has been installed at Carlow Brewing Company's base in Bagenalstown and the Vendome pot stills, flown all the way from Lexington, Kentucky, are now ready to be commissioned, meaning that they are ready to receive the first batch of weat in three years will become Alltech's first Irish whiskey, distilled in Ireland.

Also known as O'Hara's Brewery, Carlow Brewing Company was founded in 1996 by the O'Hara family. The original brewery was located in the 19th century 'Goods Store' beside the train station in Carlow town. That building had been unused for many years but after significant renovation the brewery got its first 1,500 litre brew into a tank in 1998.

The company grew a solid local support base and began to move into the UK market. Now based in a brand new brew house in Bagenalstown, the company produces a range of five beers which are sold in more than 20 countries.

The new distillery is operated manually so the commissioning process will take time and a master distiller will need to adjust the spirit levels and temperature accordingly to create the perfect whiskey.

Mr. O'Hara said, 'After 15 years in brewing, we have collaborated with Alltech who have the experience and so it is a way for us to move into the distillery business by working with them and also use our own expertise as well.

'It is great to bring brewing and whiskey making back to Carlow. It is certainly an interesting time.'

Alltech was founded by Irishman Dr Lyons who worked as a biochemist for Irish Distillers before founding the company in 1980.

Last Thursday, Dr Lyons received the Ireland-US Council's Award for Outstanding Achievement for strengthening economic ties between America and Ireland at the Metropolitan Club in New York.

The company is best known in the animal sciences field and just two months ago opened a multimillion dollar distillery, the first to be built in Lexington, Kentucky.

The decision for Alltech to locate here is partly due to history as it is over two hundred years since a revolution known as the Whiskey Rebellion, in which a wave of Irish settlers in America were against George Washington's tax on distilled spirits and saw many of them settle in Bourbon County, Virginia to hone their craft.

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