29 September 2023
By Elaine Murphy
Irish Distillers has today announced the opening of its redeveloped Irish whiskey experience in Midleton, Co. Cork. The rebranded ‘Midleton Distillery Experience’ was officially opened by Tánaiste, Micheál Martin.
The visitor centre has undergone an extensive multi-million-euro redevelopment, and has been transformed into a new world-class, multi-sensory Irish whiskey experience in advance of the 200-year anniversary of Midleton Distillery in 2025.
The redeveloped site has the potential to welcome more than 200,000 domestic and international visitors to the East Cork region annually and will further cement Midleton’s reputation as a world-class whiskey destination.
The new Midleton Distillery Experience will offer visitors from Ireland and around the world the opportunity to explore more about the past, present, and future of Irish whiskey production at Midleton Distillery. The experience brings together all of Irish Distillers’ whiskey brands including Jameson, the world’s most awarded Irish whiskey, Redbreast, Midleton Very Rare, Powers, The Spot Whiskeys, Method and Madness and Knappogue Castle.
The upgraded tourist attraction features new and immersive whiskey tours, tastings, and experiences incorporating all seven of Irish Distillers’ whiskey brands as well as an immersive auditorium, modern retail facilities, whiskey tasting and cocktail making rooms, a newly built café, and new workspaces.
Conservation and restoration of existing structures and features was central to the redevelopment as many of the original distillery buildings date back to 1794. Every effort was made to restore and improve the buildings, marrying the old with the new. Contractors made improvements and upgrades to preserve the fabric of the historic buildings using like-for-like materials whilst embracing modern construction techniques. This has resulted in a unique visitor experience that encapsulates the history and heritage of Midleton Distillery, in a beautiful, state-of-the-art modern experience.
The new experience has been constructed with sustainability and efficiency at the forefront of the design. The incorporation of a new and efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and the retrofit of existing buildings will deliver improved energy performance throughout and help reduce the amount of energy used. The switch to LED lighting throughout – close to 1,000 bulbs – will lead to an estimated 80% reduction in consumption of electricity. With sustainability at the fore, the design team also manufactured the experiences’ bar counters and tables from repurposed oak which originated from an old vat situated in Irish Distillers’ Fox & Geese bottling plant in Dublin.
Commenting on the opening of the Midleton Distillery Experience, Tánaiste, Micheál Martin said:
Today is a very significant day for tourism in the region as the newly redeveloped Midleton Distillery Experience officially opens. There is no doubt this this redeveloped experience will further serve to attract both domestic and international visitors in the years to come, supporting jobs in the region and building on Midleton’s long-established reputation as a tourism destination. I am delighted to officially open the redevelopment today.
Alexandre Ricard, CEO and Chairman, Pernod Ricard said:
Today is a special day for Pernod Ricard and Irish Distillers as we celebrate the opening of the newly redeveloped world-class Midleton Distillery Experience.
The growth of Irish whiskey, led by Jameson, is recognised internationally as a global success and Midleton is truly at the centre of this amazing story. Our renowned Irish whiskeys are all carefully crafted here to be shared and enjoyed by people around the world and we are proud to have welcomed more than 3.5 million visitors from across the globe to Midleton since 1992.
Our multimillion-euro investment in this redevelopment will conserve the heritage of this historical site for future generations and we look forward to welcoming even more people to experience the story of our Irish whiskeys at the new Midleton Distillery Experience.
Nodjame Fouad, CEO and Chairman, Irish Distillers said:
Midleton Distillery is the heart and soul of Irish whiskey, and our new Midleton Distillery Experience will further build on its reputation for excellence on the international stage and cement its position as one of the top tourism attractions in the world, while also supporting jobs and economic growth in the East Cork region.
This is an incredibly exciting day for us all at Irish Distillers, but especially for our team in our visitor centre in Midleton who have worked tirelessly to ensure the successful delivery of the project, while also continuing to deliver an exceptional distillery experience to visitors throughout the redevelopment. I would like to thank them all for their continued hard work and dedication.
To celebrate the opening of the redeveloped experience, Redbreast Irish Whiskey has unveiled a new expression, Redbreast 10-Year-Old Distillery Edition. This will be available exclusively from the newly re-opened Midleton Distillery Experience from 30 September and Jameson Distillery Bow Street from 2 October at RRP of €120 or €125 for a personalised bottle.
New York headquartered Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA), who have specialist experience in the planning and design of cultural attractions around the world, led the design of the redevelopment project and the construction was carried out by PJ Hegarty & Sons, amongst others.
 Based on the tasting results of the six most influential tasting competitions over the past 12 years (2010-2022), including The Irish Whiskey Masters, IWSC, ISC, Beverage Testing Institute, San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Ultimate Spirits Challenge.