It is expected to be confirmed later today that the former owner of Cooley Distillery, John Teeling, is to take over the former Harp Brewery in Dundalk and will begin distilling whiskey there next year.
The investment will see a total of 80 jobs being created at what will be called the, ‘Great Northern Distillery;’ 40 of the jobs will be in the distillery itself.
It is understood that Mr Teeling contemplated returning to distilling after he heard a plea by the then president of the chamber of commerce, Paddy Malone, for someone to invest in the Harp Brewery which was earmarked for closure. As a result he contacted Mr Malone and discussions began which have culminated in the announcement.
It is understood the plant will be handed over by Diageo to Mr Teeling in the coming week and that he will open the distillery next year.
Mr Malone said, “When Diageo announced the closure of the Great Northern Brewery (Harp) I issued a statement emphasising the need to find a replacement industry for the plant. There had been a number of alternatives uses suggested to me and I had set those out at the time.
“Within 24 hours John Teeling contacted me and over the next few months we made steady progress. When I then informed Diageo as to the person on whose behalf I was enquiring matters accelerated.”
“When it was considered appropriate I introduced John to the officials in both Louth County Council and Dundalk Town Council. This is a practical example of the Louth Economic Forum bringing private and public sectors together.”
The chairman of the Louth Economic Forum, Padraic White, who is former chairman of the IDA, said, “The Louth Economic Forum advocates the combined efforts of private and public enterprise. As Forum Chairperson I, of course, warmly welcome today’s announcement that John Teeling is to operate the Great Northern Brewery as a distillery.”