A global surge in demand for whiskey has led to Dundalk based Great Northern Distillery investing €25 million to double its capacity to two million bottles a week, the Argus has learned.
The investment follows a surge in demand for the world’s fastest growing “brown spirit”.
Great Northern, based in Dundalk, Co Louth, supplies malt and grain bulk whiskey to brands such as JJ Corry in west Clare as well as own-label whiskey to retailers.
The distillery, the country’s largest independent distilling complex, describes itself as a one-stop shop that works with brand owners and buyers to create their own unique whiskey. It also blends, casks, warehouses and arranges bottling for brands.
The Great Northern Distillery produces a million bottles a week from its two on-site distilleries: a four million litre pot still and a 12 million litre column still. A second four million litre pot still will come on stream in the first quarter of 2023 at the 5.5-hectare site.
“I would expect Irish whiskey sales to double to 30 million [cases] by 2030, unless there’s another disruption” to the industry after Covid, The Great Northern Distillery chairman and founder John Teeling told the Sunday Independent.
“If that’s the case, we have a shortage of distilling capacity. The stuff we’re expanding our capacity in Dundalk for is for sales in ten years’ time. We have to distil for 2030 and 2035 — we can’t just distil for now and say, ‘We have enough’.
“There are 700 Irish whiskey brands and 42 distillers. That tells you there is a large number of companies that don’t have their own distillation. Distilling is time-intensive and really capital-intensive, unless it’s a very tiny segment with a specialist product.”