The word “whiskey” is an Anglicisation of the first word in the Irish Gaelic phrase, uisce beatha, meaning “water of life”. The phrase was a translation of the Latin term aqua vitae, which was commonly used to describe distilled spirits during the Middle Ages. In the 19th Century Ireland has 60% of the global whiskey sales with over 1,000 distilleries on the island of Ireland.
Following a number of factors the whiskey distilling industry fell into decline and Scotland surpassed Ireland to become the World’s largest whiskey producer. By 1972 these were only three distilleries operational on the island of Ireland by Irish Distillers.
However, the late 1980s saw the beginnings of a resurgence in the Irish whiskey industry, with the establishment of the Cooley Distillery in the late 1980’s by John Teeling. Since then Irish whiskey has undergone a major resurgence with the Irish Whiskey Market is the fastest growing brown spirit sales in the world and the establishment of new Irish distillery’s
Dundalk Brewing & Distilling
The Town of Dundalk has always been ideally suited to foster a distilling industry with access the purest water from the nearby Cooley Mountains. Since the late 1600’s brewing has been at the heart of Dundalk with breweries in the area. The Dundalk Distillery operated in the Town between 1708 and 1926. Two of the distillery buildings, the grain store and maltings, still exist and now house the County Museum and Dundalk Library.
The Great Northern Distillery founded on the site of the former Great Northern Brewery in Dundalk, Co. Louth in Ireland. The original brewery onsite was in 1896. Diageo’s association with brewing in Dundalk dates back to the late 1950s when until 1960, the brewery had produced stout and ale. However, in response to an increased demand for lager at that time, Guinness converted the brewery into a modern lager operation which seen Harp Lager created. The Great Northern Brewery was the second largest brewery in Ireland until its closure in 2013 and subsequent takeover in 2015 by the Great Northern Distillery. The first 3 year old matured Irish Whiskey’s produced at the distillery came of age during 2018.