Brown-Forman breaks ground at Slane

The US Ambassador to Ireland Kevin F O’Malley was Guest of Honour recently at the official ground-breaking ceremony for the €44 million Slane Distillery and Visitor Centre on the historic Slane Castle Estate in County Meath, home of Henry Conyngham, the eighth Marquess Conyngham and his son Alex, Earl of Mount Charles.

The distillery, which will also include a Visitor Centre, is being built by Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort and Woodford Reserve owner Brown-Forman Corporation, a leading US drinks firm, which bought all shares of the Slane Irish Whiskey Company from the Conyngham family last June. The Conynghams remain centrally involved in the development of the new distillery and the new whiskey brands which will be introduced early in 2017.

This is the first new distillery Brown-Forman has built outside the US and represents its entry into distilling one of the fastest-growing spirits categories in the world.

When completed by the end of 2016 the new attraction to the Boyne Valley tourism trail will create nearly 25 full-time jobs while the construction process itself will support approximately 80.

“This is a great coming together of two historic families – the Browns of Kentucky and the Conynghams of Slane,” said Henry Conyngham of the new Distillery and Visitor Centre to be completed late 2016.

The distillery and visitor centre in the historic stables complex adjacent to the castle will see the 18th Century buildings restored and converted to house both the production operation and the consumer experience.

The first Slane Irish whiskeys will be launched to market in early 2017 – initially using high quality whiskey purchased from other Irish distilleries before being finished to Slane’s exacting recipes and specifications. Upon completion it will have a potential output of more than 600,000 cases.

Alex Conyngham added that the partnership with Brown-Forman provided a unique range of possibilities for a new Irish whiskey brand.

Representatives from the Irish Whiskey Association attended the ceremony at Slane Castle to mark the construction of the new Slane Distillery and Visitor Centre.

Miriam Mooney, Head of the Irish Whiskey Association said:

“Having been distilled in Ireland since the 6th Century, Irish whiskey is one of the oldest spirit drinks in Europe. It’s a premium product that can only be made on the island of Ireland. The existing players have driven the global renaissance in Irish whiskey and now it’s the fastest-growing spirits category in the world. In the last decade, the category grew by almost 200%. The potential is massive when we compare Ireland to Scotland, with over 130 Scottish distilleries in operation, bringing investment and employment into rural areas.”


Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free