Irish Distillers Open New Micro Distillery, Tap Female Lead

Irish Distillers Open New Micro Distillery, Tap Female Lead

By Nino Marchetti / October 2, 2015

Irish Distillers, known for a range of prolific Irish whiskey brands such as Jameson, Redbreast and Green Spot, is opening a new “micro distillery” in Midleton, Co. Cork, in what looks to be a play for small batch crafting. What is perhaps even of more interesting note here, however, is they will be employing that nation’s only female distiller as its lead.

The new distiller at the micro distillery there is Karen Cotter, an alumni of the Jameson Graduate Distiller Program. She was hired by Irish Distillers back in 2012 and will oversee the creation of whiskies drawn from historical recipes. These in turn came from a “discovered” notebook that is said to have been “used by John Jameson II in 1826 which he used to take note of special recipes and ingredient mixes used by the original Jameson distillers.”

Karen Cotter

Karen Cotter, Distiller Micro Distillery (left) and Anna Malmhake, Chairman and CEO of Irish Distillers pictured in the new Micro Distillery in Midleton. (image via Irish Distillers)

This distillery, which will produce up to 400 casks of Irish whiskey annually once fully operational, will also “experiment and innovate with new ingredient mixes,” according to Irish Distillers. Whether it be old or new creations, the facility will initially feature a mix of cereals being distilled manually during the first year. Afterwards, in phase two, a microbrewery will be brought online, enabling Cotter and her crew to make use of a “wider range of cereals and yeast strains.”

Tourists who are curious about this new whiskey making operation, said to be the first of its kind in the Old Midleton buildings since 1975, will find it to be a key feature of the “Jameson Experience Midleton.” It, and the Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin, welcome over 410,000 tourists a year.

“I am honored to take up my new role as Distiller at the Midleton Microdistillery – my own distillery!,” said Cotter in a statement. “I had my first taste of Midleton during a six-month work placement and found the story of what we do in Midleton and why we do it fascinating. I wanted to be a part of an industry that respects the traditions of old while using environmentally sustainable ways to ensure quality whiskey production for the future.”