Roe & Co Distillery – a first look
Diageo Ireland’s Roe & Co Distillery will now open on 21st June. The iconic Guinness power station has been renovated into a new visitor experience and state-of-the-art urban distillery,
12 June 2019 | 0
Located in the heart of Dublin’s whiskey district, visitors will be treated to a 75-minute tour of the new distillery, allowing them to observe the operational distillery and witness the copper pot stills and mash tun from an impressive elevated glass walkway.
The visit concludes with guests being able to “clock off work” with one of Roe & Co’s World Class cocktails in the Power House Bar.
At a press preview Operations Manager at the distillery Niall Molloy led a guided tour around the building.
At one window he pointed out landmarks within the Guinness site that proved the inspiration for the Roe & Co label such as St Patrick’s tower from the old George Roe & Co distillery (once Ireland’s largest distillery) and the 17th Century pear tree at its base, believed to be the oldest pear tree in Ireland.
Niall also took us to Room 106, so named after the number of blends it took Master Blender Caroline Martin to perfect the whiskey in collaboration with a number of bartenders and cocktail-makers who’d been engaged in the formulation to achieve a significant degree of consumer feedback.
The result aims to be an ‘accessible’ and ‘approachable’ Irish whiskey.
Lorna Hemy, Roe & Co’s Head Distiller, pointed out the three copper pot stills nicknamed ‘Vision, ‘Virtue’ and ‘Valour’ that can run both double and triple distillations and which comprise the business end of the building.
The piping running from the top of the ‘Valour’ still was taken from its original home in Wandsworth, South London (where it played its part in bringing Tanqueray and Gordon’s gins into the world for Diageo).
Caroline Martin then took us for a Roe & Co tasting of this grain and malt blend.
The whiskey’s final flavour had to satisfy three differing demands, she said, no easy task.
Firstly it had to have an accessible taste on its own merit, secondly it had to perform as an able cocktail base and thirdly it had to work with colas.
The whiskey, stored in all-American Oak Bourbon casks (first- and second-fill), has an ABV of 45% with no age statement on the bottle although Caroline assured that all the blends were “well matured” from stock.
When fully operational the distillery will distil 14,000 litres of whiskey every run with an annual maximum capacity of approximately 500,000 litres of alcohol.
Roe & Co’s Global Brand Director Gráinne Wafer pointed out that the distillery will provide direct employment for 18 people and will complement what’s already the country’s most popular tourism offering, The Guinness Storehouse.
“This €25 million investment into the Roe & Co Distillery further demonstrates Diageo’s commitment to the growing vibrancy of The Liberties, one of the city’s most dynamic districts and the heart of brewing and distilling,” she said.
The distillery has already been named ‘one of the 10 best new openings in the world for 2019’ by Lonely Planet.
Following a brief nosing and tasting in the tasting room, the press party also got to examine the Cocktail room where the balance of the Roe & Co product can be further explored by visitors.
As Niall Molloy explained, “To build the category you have to appeal to new audiences”.
Another nice touch was explained by the Roe & Co Brand Ambassador Alan Mulvihill in the final stop of the tour, the Power House Bar.
Here, the various cocktails in the bar’s substantial cocktail menu he’d created take their names from some of the job titles in the old power house plant.
Launched here two years ago, Roe & Co is now available in 15 countries around Europe. It was launched into the US last March and next month Australia will get its chance to taste the new whiskey.