Whiskey distillery may be Slane's new gig

Mon, Apr 16, 2012, 01:00

SLANE CASTLE owner Lord Henry Mountcharles is considering establishing a state-of-the-art whiskey distillery and heritage centre on the castle estate in Co Meath.

Such an investment would run into millions of euro and create jobs as well as ensuring a reliable source of the whiskey blend that last year won a gold medal at the Irish Whiskey Masters in London.

The castle is also known for hosting major rock concerts by artists including U2, the Rolling Stones, Kings of Leon and Oasis.

Slane Castle whiskey was launched three years ago at the Oasis rock concert and is a unique blend created by Cooley Distillery with input from Lord Henry and his son and business partner Alex.

However, Lord Henry strongly criticised the decision of the new owners of Cooley Distillery not to supply whiskey to independent operators including him.

The decision was made by international group Beam who bought the distillery last year and according to Lord Henry, “there was no grace period, they simply cut off the tap”.

Slane Castle whiskey has been a growing brand and he and Alex have been marketing it heavily in the US where it was awarded 94/100 in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge in New York last year.

Beam said it is focusing on “building the Cooley brands” and is “respecting existing supply contracts and appropriate notice periods”.

Beam said: “Following the sale of Cooley to Beam, a strategic review of the company’s inventory and future supply needs was undertaken and a strategic decision was made to focus on building Cooley’s core brands: Kilbeggan, Tyrconnell, Connemara and Greenore.

“To ensure sufficient whiskey stocks are available to meet the growing demand for Cooley whiskeys, both now and in the future, the decision was made to increasingly allocate supplies to the Cooley brands from third-party brands.”

Slane Castle whiskey is not the only independent operator affected, and others are believed to support a new distillery.

Sources close to the castle confirmed that workmen have been on site and examinations are being made of the former stables which would be a suitable location for a visitor and heritage centre.

A decision is expected in the coming days on whether there will be a concert there this year.