Saturday 17 August 2019

Powerscourt opens €20m distillery and cask programme


Noel Sweeney, master distiller at The Powerscourt Distillery. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Noel Sweeney, master distiller at The Powerscourt Distillery. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Michael Cogley

Powerscourt estate in Co Wicklow will open the doors to its new €20m Irish whiskey distillery and visitor centre this week and will launch a fund-raising cask programme

The refurbishment of the old mill house on the grounds of the estate will add to the golf course, hotel, and garden attractions in place. It follows the release of 10- and 14-year-old whiskeys under the Ferncullen brand last year.

Local entrepreneurs Gerry Ginty and Ashely Gardiner set about devising a plan for the development over a year ago, which included securing the backing of the Powerscourt owners, the Slazenger family.

The new distillery company intends to raise funds through its cask members programme, which is restricted to a membership of 397 200- litre casks. Each cask, which will be the first fill of whiskey from the Powerscourt distillery, costs €7,800 and will yield between 280 and 300 bottles upon its maturation.

Distillery chief executive Alex Peirce said the programme was a "once-off opportunity".

"The past few years have seen a lot of careful preparatory work, and we now have a whiskey distillery located in an extraordinary setting, complemented by a world class visitor centre and facilities and an on-site maturation warehouse all in the one place," he said.

"Of course, we also have one of Ireland's most decorated and recognisable of distillers in Noel Sweeney."

Sweeney, the company's master distiller, was inducted into the whiskey hall of fame in 2017.

The new development is made up of six separate tasting rooms, a gift shop, a cafe, a screening room, and the adjoining maturation facilities.

Peirce, who previously acted as a director of business development for internet of things company Asavie, also said that the company will look to make use of the building for corporate meetings.

Powerscourt's entry-level "Premium Blend" whiskey starts at €44 for a 70cl bottle, while its top of the line 14-year-old single malt costs €92.95 a bottle.

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