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Friday, 27 March 2015

Jameson Whiskey Distillery

Jameson Whiskey is the most internationally recognized of all Irish whiskey, and accounts for 75% of all Irish whiskey sales worldwide. It is also the third largest distillery in the world, selling over a million barrels annually.

Underground storage at the Jameson Distillery, 1952
However, the market was not always as comfortable for Jameson. The company had been the leading whiskey brand in the nineteenth century also, but their fortunes were severely affected by the introduction of prohibition in the US. This allowed Scotch whisky to make advances into the market as it was smuggled over the Canadian border.

Jameson had two distilleries in Ireland, one in Dublin and one in Cork. The Dublin distillery was located in Bow Street, in the Smithfield area behind the Four Courts in central Dublin. It played a major part in the business operations; distilling, storage, maturing, and distribution, as can be seen from the images in this blog.

Testing the whiskey is maturing properly
The Dublin distillery was closed in 1971, with all operations moving to the Cork site. One of the Dublin buildings was kept by the Irish Distillers (a collaboration between Jameson, Powers and the Cork Distillers) as their headquarters, and was turned into the Old Jameson Distillery museum, which is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Dublin.

A group of overseas students visit the Jameson Distillery, 1963

Ironically, the distillery always was a place that VIPs were taken to for a treat, which was always combined with a PR opportunity for the company. Actors, singers, celebrities, overseas students and a few politicians all made their way to Bow Street to witness the creation of uisce beatha. It is a visit that thousand of people make still to this day, and is especially popular amongst overseas tourists.

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