Teeling toasts Louth distillery profit boost

Golden: The Great Northern Distillery has a broad client base

John Mulligan

Operating profits at John Teeling's Great Northern Distillery soared 36pc to €7.6m in its last financial year as turnover at the business surged.

Newly filed accounts for the company show that revenue hit €19.2m in the 12 months to the end of last April, compared with €13.6m the previous year.

The distillery, which is located on the site of the former Harp brewery in Dundalk, Co Louth, operates stills that produce a range of whiskey spirits. It also operates a small-scale gin still. The Harp brewery site was closed and sold by Diageo in 2013.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Teeling said that the growth in revenue was due to the coming on stream of three-year-old whiskey that had been matured by the firm.

"Revenue probably won't increase by that much this year, maybe by about 10pc," he added.

Great Northern Distillery sells its whiskey in bulk to other firms that own private-label brands.

It is making the equivalent of about 700,000 bottles of whiskey a week, with 50pc to 60pc of it being sold immediately, said Mr Teeling.

It employs more than 30 people at the Co Louth site.

The accounts for Great Northern Distillery, which is owned by Mr Teeling, his sons and managers who were the founders and former management team at Cooley Distillery, show that the business had accumulated profits of €15.1m at the end of last April.

Mr Teeling sold the Cooley Distillery in Co Louth in 2011 to US firm Beam for €71m.

That has sparked a surge in interest in whiskey distilling here, with dozens of small whiskey brands and makers having popped up all over the country.

Mr Teeling's sons, Jack and Stephen, established Teeling Whiskey in Dublin in 2012 and opened the Teeling Whiskey Distillery in 2015 in the Liberties area of the city.

It was the first new distillery to open in the capital in 125 years.

It has proved to be a popular tourist attraction and has welcomed close to 500,000 visitors since it opened.