Tuesday 23 January 2018

Watch: Inside the new €11m Jameson Distillery...where the iconic whiskey chandelier is the only thing that remains the same

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

If you were a lover of the tour experience of the Jameson Distillery before the €11m investment of its new digs, at least you have the whiskey bottle chandelier to cling to.

Because everything else is different, according to Carol Quinn, Irish Distillers Archivist, and the chandeliers aren't for commercial sale just yet either.

Living up to the family motto, Sine Metu, which means 'without fear', the Bow St team essentially made a completely new venue.

"One of the most iconic pieces that was in the existing distillery was our iconic Jameson chandelier. It's constructed of Jameson bottles and I think anyone who sees it, their suggestion is 'how do I get one?'

"But absolutely everything else is different. The Jameson story stays the same but we're telling it in a much more interactive way. It will be a much more hands-on experience. We've unearthed so many different stories in our archives, the tour will be different each time you do it," she said. 

Furthermore, three tours are actually on offer to tailor to the desires of those who walk through the distillery doors; The Bow St Experience, The Whiskey Makers and The Whiskey Shakers.

Pictured is Ray Dempsey, General Manager, Jameson Distillery Bow St with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Dublin Central TD Paschal Donohoe in the 'Maturation House' during the official opening of the 'Jameson Distillery Bow St.
 Photo Chris Bellew/ Fennell Photography.
Pictured is Ray Dempsey, General Manager, Jameson Distillery Bow St with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Dublin Central TD Paschal Donohoe in the 'Maturation House' during the official opening of the 'Jameson Distillery Bow St.  Photo Chris Bellew/ Fennell Photography.
Pictured is Ray Dempsey, General Manager, Jameson Distillery Bow St with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Dublin Central TD Paschal Donohoe in the 'Maturation House' during the official opening of the 'Jameson Distillery Bow St.  Photo Chris Bellew/ Fennell Photography.

Ms Quinn looks after the records of John Jameson and son founded in Bow St in 1880.

All the employment records from the firm of Jameson, the generations of craftspeople who worked at the distillery, the records of the purchasing barley of the farmers who supplied to the distillery - and the records of the export and process of making whiskey - are all stored on site.

"What's new here in the Jameson display is the input of the generations of workers, many of whom live locally around the Bow St area. Without those people, Jameson wouldn't be the success story it is today," Ms Quinn told independent.ie.

"For the first time, we have a timeline, the evolution of the Jameson distillery showing highlights in the manufacture of Irish whiskey and the exports of Irish whiskey."

Pictured is Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Dublin Central TD Paschal Donohoe, Ray Dempsey, General Manager, Jameson Distillery Bow St and Claire Tolan, Managing Director Brand Homes & Education, Irish Distillers during the official opening of the 'Jameson Distillery Bow St.
Photo Chris Bellew/ Fennell Photography.
Pictured is Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Dublin Central TD Paschal Donohoe, Ray Dempsey, General Manager, Jameson Distillery Bow St and Claire Tolan, Managing Director Brand Homes & Education, Irish Distillers during the official opening of the 'Jameson Distillery Bow St. Photo Chris Bellew/ Fennell Photography.
Pictured is Ray Dempsey, General Manager, Jameson Distillery Bow St with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Dublin Central TD Paschal Donohoe and Carol Quinn, Irish Distillers Archivist during the official opening of the 'Jameson Distillery Bow St.  Photo Chris Bellew/ Fennell Photography.

Separate from this wall mounted timeline, each piece of furniture and tabletop holds a piece of history that lends to what the distillery call "the storytelling experience".

One such tale involves John Jameson II and his personal notebook in which he recorded the exact recipe for Jameson in 1826.

"He was very much a hands-on distiller and he was a busy man. One evening he snapped his notebook quickly, trapping grains of barley on the bindings of the notebook, where they lay for over 150 years.," said Ms Quinn.

When the notebook was conserved and the barley fell out, it was decided to send the barley for testing to the Department for Agriculture with the hope of replanting the same grain.

Pictured is Ray Dempsey, General Manager, Jameson Distillery Bow St with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Dublin Central TD Paschal Donohoe in the 'Maturation House' during the official opening of the 'Jameson Distillery Bow St.
 Photo Chris Bellew/ Fennell Photography.
Pictured is Ray Dempsey, General Manager, Jameson Distillery Bow St with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Dublin Central TD Paschal Donohoe in the 'Maturation House' during the official opening of the 'Jameson Distillery Bow St.  Photo Chris Bellew/ Fennell Photography.
Pictured is Ray Dempsey, General Manager, Jameson Distillery Bow St with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Dublin Central TD Paschal Donohoe and Carol Quinn, Irish Distillers Archivist during the official opening of the 'Jameson Distillery Bow St. Photo Chris Bellew/ Fennell Photography.

Competition to up the Irish Whiskey game is strong this year as Guinness announced its foray back into the market with the release of a new premium brand.

The Roe & Co brand has been created with a focus on letting Irish Whiskey gain a foothold in Europe as the cocktail culture reigns.

The new St. James’s Gate distillery, will be situated close to where the George Roe and Co distillery once stood, with production expected to begin in the first half of 2019.

Speaking on behalf of Wild Geese Irish Whiskey, Andre Levy Chairman of Protégé International said on Monday that while they welcome any development that contributes to the growth of Irish whiskey and its related tourism, "the Old Jameson Distillery will not serve to help grow smaller and independent Irish whiskey brands or the overall category but serves only to reinforce the dominance of Jameson in the Irish whiskey category’’, 

“The introduction of a wholesale bulk Irish whiskey market will benefit all industry participants and ultimately help smaller brands to emulate the success of Pernod Ricard and large established actors,” he said.

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