Great Northern Distillery In Ireland Begins Making Whiskey

Great Northern Distillery In Ireland Begins Making Whiskey

By Nino Marchetti / August 24, 2015

The Teeling family is very, very busy in the world of Irish whiskey these days it seems like. When not caught up with the opening of their flagship Teeling Distillery in Dublin, Ireland, they’ve been active on other whiskey projects around the Irish countryside. The latest of these has just produced fruit, in the form of the opening of the Great Northern Distillery in Dundalk, Co. Louth.

The Great Northern Distillery sits on the grounds of a site rich in alcohol history. It was originally the home of Great Northern Brewery, a Diageo owned operation established in the 1800s which most famously brewed Harp Lager. Diageo recently had gotten rid of the facility, however, selling it to the Teeling family, who is now converting it into two distilleries, including Great Northern.

Great Northern Distillery

The stills of the new Great Northern Distillery (image via Great Northern Distillery)

Approximately €10 million has been invested into Great Northern so far, out of a planned “€35m over four years to transform the former Harp Lager brewery into one of the biggest in the country.” The three-column still grain whiskey distillery, as of now, has a 30 million bottle a year capacity and just recently began producing new spirit, “which will be casked in oak barrels and matured in bonded warehouses for at least three years before it can be called Irish whiskey.”

Plans at this site call for the production of “premium bulk whiskey for the Irish and abroad markets,” including Irish single malt, single grain and pot still whiskies. This load will be shared by the as yet unnamed sister distillery, which will sport three large copper pots that can distill 12 million bottles a year of single malt and pot still. This even newer facility has already been commissioned and reportedly will begin distillation by month’s end.

“It is 95 years since the last whiskey stills went dark in Dundalk,” said Great Northern co-founder John Teeling in a statement, “where the Dundalk Distillery had operated since 1800.  It is 120 years since brewing started on what is now the Great Northern Distillery site.

“Dundalk is a good town for business.  Good local skills, a good tradition of engineering, a pro-business council all combined with a strong project management team and a top class distiller.  We are reviving the whiskey tradition and continuing alcohol production on what is a wonderful site.  With fair winds, distillation will continue on the GND site for the next 100 years.”