The €20 million facility will include a whiskey distillery, craft brewery and taproom, a visitor centre (which will host distillery and brewery tours), a 120-seater restaurant, whiskey bar, private event space and gift shop.
The 50,000 sq ft premises will produce craft whiskey, gin and a range of craft beers for the domestic and export market.
Boann will create a range of Irish single malt, pot still and blended whiskies from technologically-advanced nano-copper pot stills. A small batch premium gin will also be produced in a custom-made 500 litre Bennett Still.
Internationally-renowned Masterdistiller John McDougall is consultant Distiller to the project and he’ll be working closely with Áine O’ Hora, Head Distiller and Brewer.
With state-of-the-art bottling, canning and kegging lines being installed at the production facility the core Boyne Brewhouse craft beer range will be available in bottle, can and draught and will follow up with a range of speciality food beers and seasonals.
The Cooney family have a long tradition in the Irish drinks industry. Pat Cooney built the Gleeson Group into a major player in the Irish manufacturing and wholesale drinks business over the last 40 years with turnover of €300 million and employing 750 people.
Part of that business was sold in 2012 to C&C but the cream liqueur facility and cidery were retained by the Cooney family. The addition of whiskey, white spirits and craft beers will help place a strong focus on export markets as well as the domestic scene, says Pat Cooney.
“I’ve been in the drinks industry for the past 40 years and it has been a nagging ambition to establish a distillery of my own,” he said, “To be able to realise this ambition, with the encouragement and participation of my wife and family is a great bonus and to be able to establish this project in this super building in my home town is a multiple bonus.
“To add to the attraction of the location, we are also putting in a craft brewery. Marrying these two pillars of the industry with cream liqueur and cider allows us to tick all the boxes of the drinks industry. Pat, his wife Marie and four of their children are all actively involved in running the business.
The project is being supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland. The Minster for Jobs Richard Bruton welcomed the development, stating, “Ireland’s food and drink industry offers massive potential for regional employment which is a major focus of the Government’s 2015 Action Plan for Jobs”.
He sees the project as a great boost for the town and the wider North-East region.
Drogheda was once home to 18 local distilleries which slowly declined to just one by 1822. This last distillery was owned by James Woolsey, later taken over by the Preston Brothers. It quickly grew to become one of Ireland’s principal Irish whiskey producers. However taxes, civil war and Prohibition took their toll and in 1968 the distillery closed and the last barrels of whiskey left Drogheda.