World's oldest distillery re-started

A piece of Irish history returned to the public eye this week when the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world was re-started.

A new operation opened in the 250-year-old Kilbeggan Distillery, with a refurbished old pot still fired up 53 years to the day distilling stopped in 1954. The pot still is the oldest still working in the country. The re-firing of it was witnessed by direct descendants of three families –- the McManuses, the Codds and the Lockes, who among them operated the distillery for more than 200 years. A new 15-Year-Old Super Premium Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey was launched in honor of the event. It is expected to be exported to the U.S. and other markets in the coming months.

The Old Kilbeggan Distillery, located about 60 miles west of Dublin, will initially produce up to 250,000 bottles of whiskey a year which then will be allowed to mature in adjacent stone warehouses.

Kilbeggan Irish whiskey, named after the old distillery, is the top selling product of the Cooley Distillery, an independent company. Its other labels include Connemara, Lockes, Millars, The Tyrconnell and Sainsbury's.

Cooley Distillery won three major awards last week at the Icons of Whisky 2007 ceremony in London: Irish Distiller of the Year, Irish Whiskey Innovator of the Year and Ambassador of the Year for Cooley chairman John Teeling.

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