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Spirits high for distillery centre

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny and his predecessor Brian Cowen were among the first to catch a glimpse of the midlands' latest tourist attraction.

Tullamore Dew is to give a massive boost to its native town with a new multi-million euro visitor centre.

The centre was officially opened by Minister of State at the Department of Tourism and Sport Michael Ring and CEO of William Grant & Sons' Stella David yesterday.

Sited along the banks of the Grand Canal, the visitor centre is expected to attract 40,000 visitors per year.

It also represents the first phase of William Grant & Sons' investment in Tullamore, where work on a €35m Tullamore Dew distillery is due to begin in the coming months.

Around 100 people will be employed during construction of the new distillery, with a further 12 to 15 permanent jobs expected on completion. Ms David said: "Irish whiskey is one of the fastest growing categories of spirits globally."