WHISKEY DISTILLING IS making a return to Dublin with a €10 million investment by Steven and Jack Teeling, brothers who learned their craft with Cooley Distillery before it was sold to Beam Inc in 2012 for $95 million.
The two entrepreneurs, both still in their 30s, are due to announce the development of the Teeling Whiskey Company’s brand new distillery in the Liberties, Dublin 8 later this afternoon.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton plans to attend to highlight the 30-plus jobs the investment will bring to the area.
The Teeling brothers hope that their new distillery, complete with a ‘tourist experience’, will attract up to 100,000 visitors annually.
“It will be the only working distillery in Dublin,” Steven Teeling told TheJournal.ie. “There used to be about 37 separate ones but there has been no development since they all shut. We’re looking to be an independent voice in the market, telling a story about Dublin whiskey.”
He believes the company can achieve success on the back of a growing demand for Irish whiskey.
Currently, Scotch whisky sells about 100 million cases per year, while Irish whiskey lags behind on about 7 million.
Teeling says this will jump to 10 million in the next three to four years.
There are a number of factors for the recent resurgence. For one, in the US, the demographic drinking whiskey is about 25 to 35 years old, helped by cameos in popular shows such as Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire.
“Younger people are coming into brown spirits,” explains Teeling. “People don’t want to drink what their parents drank though. Scotch is the drink for those in their 50s and over.”
The taste profile – a smoother and softer blend – is also key, he says.
The bigger players, like Jameson, have already recruited younger people into the market but they are becoming more discerning – they want different styles, flavours and brands. In a similar way that craft beer has taken off in recent years.
Teeling said the company’s focus on handcrafting and small batches will be important to consumers.
“It is all part and parcel of what we are doing…introducing a ladder of products that aren’t the big mass brands. The styles have been quite narrow. Retailers, bartenders, consumers looking for different style of flavours. And we’re providing.”
Currently, Teeling whiskey’s four products – two single malts (21 years and 26 years), a single grain and the flagship rumcask finish – are sold in 18 different markets, including the US, UK, Germany, Australia, Russia and Canada.
The company now has 12 full-time employees but is “actively recruiting”. The first whiskey is expected to flow from the new site at the Liberties in December 2014 and construction will begin on the visitor centre next year.