Slane Castle Distillery Goes Ahead – New Irish Distillery To Be Built -Irish Whiskey News

Slane Castle Distillery goes ahead

New Irish Distillery to be built 

Slane Castle Whiskey Distillery 

Ernie – Ernst J. Scheiner, The Gateway to Distilleries at

After their take over Beam Inc decided not to supply whiskeys to independent bonders and bottlers anymore. In April 2012 the rock-and-roll aristocrat and bonder Henry Mount Charles, The Marquess Conyngham, was shocked by the decision of the new owners of Cooley Distillery. He argued that Beam’s cut of supply was anti-competitive and had forced him to withdraw immediately from his plans to increase sales figures of his Slane Castle Whiskey in the premium U.S. market. “Beam did not even grant a grace period of further supply.”  He was also forced to cancel his annual Festival.

Willie McArthur from Beam explained that bonders and own-label sellers were victims of the recent huge success of Irish whiskey. He said: “The speed at which sales are growing caught everybody by surprise, including the new owners of Cooley. They have done a full review and the sales people say we may need more whiskey than we actually have. We aim to create another Jameson – we are thinking at that kind of level. We have to make sure we do not run out of whiskey in three years’ time.” See Irish Independent, April 12, 2012.

The world-famous Irish Master Blender Noel Sweeney crafted an Irish whiskey selecting various grain and malt whiskeys from Cooley’s warehouses. His Slane Castle Whiskey blend has been very much appreciated and received accolades in spirit competitions. It won a gold medal at the Irish Whisky Masters and was very successful at the Ultimate Spirits Competion in New York in 2011. No wonder that the acceptance in the U.S. and Asia has grown after its first release.

The boutique blended Irish whiskey was launched in 2009 at an Oasis concert.  “Slane Castle Irish Whiskey is a small batch, premium blend of Irish single malt and grain whiskeys which are made and matured in the traditional Irish style that has remained largely unchanged for hundreds of years.” It has been selling over 7,000 cases.

The world-wide increasing demand of Irish whiskey stopped Cooley from selling its whiskeys to anybody who could pay. This policy which made Cooley so successful in recent years had to be ended by a drastic cut back selling grain and malt whiskeys to independent bonders and bottlers. Private labels like Michael Collins, Feckin and others will have to seek different sources. The current small batch of Slane Castle Whiskey will be discontinued as Slane Whiskey Ltd. was given no warning there is not enough stock. According to the Conyngham family which owns Slane Castle there will new whiskey available only by 2018.

New activities commenced at Slane Castle. New plans were conceived andthe Marquess’s son Lord Alex Mount Charles, co-proprietor of  Slane castle, took a closer look to the independent whiskey trade in Scotland in order to implement a new distillery in County Meath. Test holes were being sunk on site to find sufficient processing water supply for a future distillery. The nearby running water of the famous River Boyne was checked for production and cooling water.

As a result  an ecofriendly distillery with a visitor centre will be built within the grounds of Slane Castle. Disused farmyard builds, stable houses, barns and cottages will be used as a whiskey production site.

However, the first planning application was rejected by Meath County Council as it was regarded as incomplete. A second draft proposal and design of a future distillery was discussed publically in November at Slane Castle. Planning continued.

After a period of further intensive research the Mount Charles family applied again for planning permission. The present very detailed application includes special Natura Impact Statements and detailed substudies like a dive-based Report and Tree Survey including archeological and architectural studies, traffic and access reports. The Slane Castle Irish Whiskey Ltd. applied at the Meath County Council for planning permission of a whiskey distillery at Slane Castle which is a protected building within the Slanes Castle Demesne Conservation Area at the end of February 2013.

The planning proposal comprises the building of a new distillery and visitor centre in the stableyard and in neighbouring buildings of the castle estate which are presently not in use. Water will be sourced from on site boreholes, collected rainwater and the River Boyne. A packaged waste treatment plant will also be built. “1,200 tonnes of barley will be grown on our own estate,“ Lord Mountcharles explained, “All going to plan, distillation will start in 2014, producing 5,000 casks a year of high-end single malt and pot still whiskeys. There will also be an option to produce blended whiskeys.”

The €10 million development is now on its way. The Council’s planning approval is expected by mid-April 2013.

About Slane Castle

The 18th century neogothic castle is located in the Boyne Valley only 25 minutes north of Dublin and west of Dundalk in Co. Meath. The castle has been the family home of the Conynghams for more than 300 years. Since 1981 the castle ground has hosted rock concerts. In the natural shaped amphitheatre U2, The Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Queen, Bob Dylan, Brian Adams, Guns and Roses and others played within crowds of 80.000 people. At Slane Castle U2 took residence for recording their album The Unforgettable Fire. In 1981 Thin Lizzy staged their world-famous song Whisky in the Jar.

On the Hill of Slane Saint Patrick lit the first paschal fire in 433 AD in direct defiance of the nearby pagan High King Laoire who had forbidden any other fires during the festival fire burning on the Hill of Tara. Photo Courtesy of Slane Castle Irish Whiskey Ltd.   About Slane Castle Whiskey please see:

About the Author: Ernie – Ernst J. Scheiner M.A. was a director in an adult education centre. Ernie offers courses on whisky distilling, writes for newspapers and magazines in Germany. He is the editor of The Gateway to Distilleries at which gives an excellent photographic and educational insight into the whisky industry of Scotland, Ireland, Europe and Asia. Please see also:


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