Tullamore D.E.W, along with Bushmills and Jameson is one of the few surviving “Old Guards” of Irish Whiskey.
Tullamore DEW has just built a new Irish Whiskey Distillery. Irish Whiskey Writer Stuart McNamara drops by and learns that the new Pot Stills are Live!
Tullamore is a large (for Ireland) market town located in the heart of the Irish Midlands on the Grand Canal which links the river Shannon with Dublin.
It has a population of 15,000 and lies approximately 100km west of Dublin. Slieve Bloom, to the north is believed to be one of Europe’s oldest mountain ranges, and to the south is Lough Boora, a vast nature reserve.
The town is connected to Dublin by the Grand Canal, an old merchant waterway linking the capital city with the mighty River Shannon in the West of Ireland. Tullamore D.E.W. is the town’s most famous export, dating back to 1829. Despite the original distillery’s closure in 1954 the town has maintained a proud association with Tullamore D.E.W. and the Tullamore D.E.W. Visitor Centre, on the banks of the canal in the town centre, opened in 2012, has become a popular tourist attraction.
The D.E.W. does not, contrary to popular belief, refer to soft Irish Morning mist or rain, but rather refers to the initials of an early distillery manager Daniel E. Williams who was instrumental in the initial success of the brand. The old Tullamore distillery closed in 1954, having been in the town for 120 years. This was at a time when Irish whiskey’s international trade had been decimated. From its heyday in the early 20th century when it was in huge global demand to being severely crippled first by American Prohibition and then by Irish political instability and the Economic War with the UK.
In the meantime, Scotch whisky, which was not handicapped by the same challenging trade environment, went from strength to strength, assisted by an influx of US Servicemen who carried the Scotch brand home to America after World War 2 where it became the default import whiskey of choice in the 50’s and 60’s.
Irish whiskey was all but wiped out in the US and in fact may have been saved because of its use in Irish coffee, which become very popular on the West Coast through the legendary Buena Vista bar in San Francisco after a local journalist was served one in Shannon Airport.
As the entire Irish whiskey production sector was rationalised, Tullamore D.E.W. then went through a number of different ownerships. It became part of the William Grant & Sons family in 2010. Today, Irish whiskey is the fastest growing sector in the spirits category, as a new generation of consumers discover its
Tullamore DEW Irish Whiskey New Distillery
The new Tullamore DEW Copper Pot Stills can be seen peeking through the side windows of the new Distillery building. Since 1954, Tullamore D.E.W. has actually been produced in Irish Distillers’ Cork based distillery. On my recent visit to Irish Distillers Distillery in Midleton, I learnt that it will not be long before Tullamore DEW ceases production in Cork when the Pot Still and Column Still Single Grain Whiskey production fully crank up allowing the Midlands most famous whiskey to once more be fully made from Grain to Glass in Tullamore town.
The opening by Tullamore D.E.W. owners William Grant & Sons, of a brand new €35 Million, state of the art Irish Whiskey distillery in Tullamore later this month augers well for the future of this iconic 185 year old Irish whiskey brand which which will once again be distilled in the town who’s name it bears, 60 years to the day after the last distillery closed.
My Tullamore Spies reliably inform me that as I write on 8th September 14, the three mighty new pot stills of Tullamore have already fired up and are producing Pot Still Whiskey Spirit in advance of the official opening of the new Distillery on 16 September 14.
The final touches are now being put to the new plant. Having followed the building of the new distillery for the last year as I pass by each week enroute to my Dublin office, I was privileged to witness the putting up of the final showcase “Tullamore DEW” Signage a few weeks ago as you can see from the attached photos. It was nice to see the final pieces of the jigsaw fall into place after a year of fun watching!
A bright new future beckons for Tullamore DEW Irish Whiskey!