Teeling ‘disappointed’ at planning refusal in Louth for whiskey warehouses

The whiskey entrepreneur had applied to build 13 whiskey maturation warehouses in the county

John Teeling of the Great Northern Distillery  with an old still

John Teeling of the Great Northern Distillery with an old still


Whiskey entrepreneur John Teeling has said he is “disappointed” that plans for warehouses in Co Louth were refused by An Bord Pleanála having spent more than €500,000 on consultancy fees.

The entrepreneur who led a renaissance in Irish whiskey from his Cooley Distillery in Co Louth, said he would look outside the county for the company’s substantial warehousing needs.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Teeling noted his disappointment, particularly given the fact Irish Distillers was granted planning permission for warehouse facilities in Co Cork, while his sons Jack and Stephen, of the Teeling Distillery in Dublin, were granted permission in Co Cavan.

An Bord Pleanála dismissed his appeal on the ground that the development would contravene the zoning objective provided for in the county’s development plan.

It added that the development would have formed a “discordant and obtrusive feature on the landscape at this location”.

In its appeal the distillery argued the development was of “strategic economic importance to the rapidly-growing Irish whiskey sector”.

Through his company Great Northern Distillery, Mr Teeling had planned to develop 13 maturation warehouses across 111 acres. Each warehouse had a proposed floor area of about 4,000sq m (43,000sq ft) and would have been around 10m (33ft) high.

Mr Teeling previously said the company planned to spend more than €20 million on the site.

Residents’ concerns

A number of residents in Kilcurry, a rural part of north Louth, had raised concerns about the potential environmental, traffic and fire risks at the proposed development.

Asked whether this was the end of his plans for the region, Mr Teeling said: “Yes, I’m stuck with a 150-acre farm.”

His distillery previously grew barley on the land, and there is planning permission on a section of the site for housing. Mr Teeling has yet to decide how best to proceed with the site, adding that a disposal might be on the cards.

John Teeling ended Irish Distillers’ near monopoly of the Irish whiskey sector in the late 1980s when he launched Cooley Distillery in Co Louth.

He sold the business to alcohol giant Beam Inc (now Beam Suntory) for €73 million in 2012, before setting up Great Northern Distillery on the site of the former Harp lager brewery in Dundalk.

His sons established Teeling Whiskey by initially using stocks of the Cooley product.