The Kilbeggan Distillery Experience
The ‘Guided Leaflet’ begins with the distillery’s history:
“Kilbeggan Distillery is the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in Ireland. Matthew MacManus obtained the license to produce whiskey in 1757 but whiskey may have been produced here even before then. Three natural raw materials were available for producing whiskey right here in Kilbeggan: turf from the bogs, locally grown grain and the Brosna River waters.
The Locke’s family took over in 1843 and ran the distillery until ceased production in 1954 and closed in 1957. Most of the surviving machinery dates from this period. The distillery closed for several reasons. The business was never thoroughly modernised and no attempts made to adapt to new techniques. The methodology of making whiskey was always handed down from one generation of workers to the next without scientific improvements. There were high taxation and transportation costs. Economic depression reduced demand for whiskey in Ireland in the 1920s and 30s while beer, being cheaper, grew in popularity. Blended Scotch Whiskey became more popular in the British and American markets. Additionally the American market was closed between 1920 and 1933, due to prohibition.
Cooley Distiller bought the distillery and the license to make Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey in 1988. They produced several different styles of Irish whiskey. The old bonded warehouses here in Kilbeggan are used for making this whiskey. The old distillery here in Kilbeggan has been brought to life once more with the establishment in 2007 of a working distillery in one of the old bonded warehouses where we are currently producing malt whiskey. Together with Cooley Distillery we are now the Kilbeggan Distilling Company. We have been part of Beam Suntory since 2012.”
The entry fee comprises a shot of Kilbeggan and the glass it is served in.