Walsh demerges joint-venture

Following a dispute between the Irish and the Italian directors of Walsh Whiskey about its future, its brands and its distillery business are to be split by separating out the existing drinks brands business from the distillery business itself at Royal Oak in County Carlow.

The Italian directorship, under the Tia Maria- and Disarrono-producer Illva Saronno, invested €25 million in Walsh Whiskey six years ago for a 50% stake in the business but the Irish and Italian directors differ on how to develop the combined business into the future.

As a result the Irish directors (including Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin’s Pat Rigney) have taken full control of the existing drinks brands business built on the ‘Writers’ Tears’ and ‘The Irishman’ brands that are among the most popular premium and super-premium Irish whiskeys in the world, now sold in 50 countries worldwide. This business will continue to trade under the name Walsh Whiskey. There will be no redundancies as a result of the split.

Illva Saronno will now take full ownership of the 2.5 million litre-capacity distillery, renaming it ‘Royal Oak Distillery’. The distillery, which opened in 2016, will produce its first whiskey this year.

Illva’s objective is to further enhance Royal Oak as a centre of excellence in Irish whiskey-making by continuously improving its technology and processes, producing all three styles – Malt, Pot and Grain – under one roof, enhancing the visitor experience and achieving recognition as one of the best quality Irish whiskey producers in the market.

Illva Saronno will continue to distribute Writers’ Tears and The Irishman in the US and other markets.

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