'Whiskey in the jar' as Newry distillery confirms first premium releases
THE recently-relaunched Newry-based whiskey company Matt D'Arcy & Co has unveiled its first whiskies in more than 100 years.
It has released a 17-year-old single malt and a 10-year-old blend, aimed at the super-premium and premium whiskey markets respectively.
The brands are now available to purchase exclusively at the Celtic Whiskey Shop in Dublin or to order online at www.celticwhiskeyshop.com, and the company says further listings will follow in the north and the UK.
The releases herald the revival of whiskey production in the south Ulster region, a designated area of outstanding natural beauty that has centuries of heritage in the distillation of whiskey.
The 17-year-old single malt has limited-edition of only 384 numbered bottles, each coming in hand-blown Italian crystal glass, while Matt D'Arcy's other release is a 10-year old grain whiskey blended with 17-year old single malt finished in port casks.
The arrival on the market of these premium and super-premium whiskies follows the announcement of a £7.3m (€8m) investment in the original site of the Matt D'Arcy Whiskey Company, with plans for an onsite distillery, restaurant, Victorian bar and international visitor centre.
Historian and Matt D'Arcy owner Michael McKeown said: “It's a great triumph after so much hard work to be able to release these first batches of our whiskey.
“The discovery of the water source used in the original Matt D'Arcy Whiskey more than 200 years ago was a huge moment for us, and to see the whiskey now going to market has made this a really rewarding journey.
“The historical prominence of this area in the distilling of whiskey was significant and we are look forward to restoring that reputation.”
The company's chief executive Andrew Cowan added: “We're thrilled to be able to bring to market such a special old single malt along with our innovative blend to revive the whiskey making tradition in the Newry area.
“It's been a long time in the making, but now we mark the start of production of Matt D'Arcy's whiskey range and our plan is to bring forward subsequent new batches later in the year.
“The whiskies we are producing are aimed at the premium and super premium markets and will appeal to international whiskey collectors and enthusiasts or those looking for a very special whiskey to enjoy at home.”
He added: “Irish Whiskey is in serious demand in the international market, with whiskey distilled in Northern Ireland worth £26.6m being exported annually.”
Local businessman Michael McKeown acquired the old distiller site on Monaghan Street in February 2017, the original location of D'Arcy's Old Irish Whiskey since 1817, and the distillery opened last year.
The 14,000-square-foot site comprises a fully restored Victorian bar, restaurant and a visitor center over several floors, and it aims to produce 9,000 cases a year of single malt whiskey for the premium market globally.