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One family is bringing whiskey distilling back to Drogheda after nearly 50 years

The Boann Distillery is due to start production before the end of the year.

Updated 14.15

ALMOST 50 YEARS after the last distillery closed down in Drogheda, a new whiskey producer will soon fire up the stills in the County Louth town.

The €20 million Boann Distillery development will also incorporate the Boyne Brewhouse craft brewery and a visitor centre with a bar, restaurant and event space.

While the brewhouse is already producing beers, the distillery won’t start producing raw spirits through its copper pot stills until later this year. The entire complex is expected to be open next year, employing an estimated 80-plus people.

The Enterprise Ireland-backed business will be owned and run by CEO Pat Cooney, a Drogheda native who built up soft drink maker and alcohol distributor the Gleeson Group, alongside his wife Marie and four of their children.

The Gleeson Group was sold to the C&C Group in a 2012 deal that valued the business at €58 million. The family is also behind the Adams Cider Company, which makes the Devils Bit Irish Cider brand.

Cooney Family, founders of Boann Distillery The Cooney family

“I’ve been in the drinks industry for the past 40 years and it has been a nagging ambition to establish a distillery of my own,” Cooney said.

To be able to realise this ambition, with the encouragement and participation of my wife and family, is a great bonus and to be able to establish this project in this super building in my home town is a multiple bonus.”

The Drogheda distillery, the first to produce whiskey in the town since 1968, will be the latest in a raft of new facilities to open across the country as part of a recent Irish whiskey resurgence.

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Exports of the product have increased 220% since 2003 and the industry is targeting a further quadrupling of that output within 15 years.

Irish Whiskey Association head Miriam Mooney said the Boann Distillery announcement was another clear sign that Irish whiskey was “on the way back” with 26 new distilleries in various stages of planning across the country.

“The potential is massive when we compare Ireland to Scotland, with over 130 Scottish distilleries in operation, bringing investment and employment into rural areas,” she said.

The new distillery and brewhouse will produce single malt, pot still and blended whiskies on-site, as well as a “small-batch, premium gin” and a range of craft beers from the 50,000 sq ft complex.

First published 6.20am

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Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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