Irish Distillers, the largest whiskey producer in Ireland and home to the iconic brands of Irish whiskey – Jameson, Powers, PADDY, Redbreast, Green Spot and Midleton Very Rare, has unveiled a new Microdistillery in Midleton, Co. Cork. The Microdistillery is a key innovation hub that will support the resurgence of Irish Whiskey through experimentation with distillations of new and old styles of Irish whiskey.
The opening of the new facility marks the return to distilling in the Old Midleton buildings for the first time since 1975. An innovative array of whiskeys, featuring a mix of cereals, will be distilled using a manual operation during the first year, while in phase two a microbrewery will be introduced that will enable the Microdistillery to craft whiskeys using a wider range of cereals and yeast strains.
The first Distiller of the Microdistillery at Midleton has been announced as Karen Cotter – one of eight alumni of the Jameson Graduate Distiller Programme and the only female distiller in Ireland. Karen joined Irish Distillers in 2012 and has been mentored by Midleton Master Distiller, Brian Nation – an ongoing relationship that will ensure that Karen has the support she needs to carry on the proud tradition of distilling in Midleton.
Anna Malmhake, Chairman and CEO of Irish Distillers, commented: “As Jameson continues to underpin the success of the Irish whiskey category, we are looking at new ways of building on our tradition while also forging the future of Irish whiskey. We are delighted with the opening of the Midleton Microdistillery which, when fully operational, will produce 400 casks of Irish whiskey per annum, from brewing through to maturation. These will be innovative, small batch expressions that will play a key role in the development of the category.
“Our Archivist recently uncovered a notebook personally 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. The Microdistillery will enable us to bring these old Irish whiskeys back to life in the modern era, as well as experiment and innovate with new ingredients mixes.
“In addition, it will be a key feature of the Jameson Experience Midleton. We currently welcome over 410,000 tourists per year to the Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin and the Jameson Experience Midleton. As Irish whiskey tourism continues its rapid expansion, it is essential that we develop our tourist offering so they get an authentic, Irish experience.”
Karen Cotter, Distiller at the Midleton Microdistillery, added: “I am honoured to take up my new role as Distiller at the Midleton Microdistillery – my own distillery! 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.”
“Craft and innovation are at the core of everything we do and Irish Distillers have had the foresight to invest in an experimentation hub that will enable us to study cereal mixes, resurrect old Irish whiskey recipes and be a centre of excellence for training up-and-coming Midleton distillers. For me, the Microdistillery presents a fantastic opportunity to be at the cutting edge of innovation in Irish Whiskey and, with a steady hand guiding me, the future really is bright for us. Who knows – maybe we will find the next Jameson here!”