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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Cooley Irish Whiskey Distillery

Co. Louth.

January 17, 2012 - Beam Inc. one of the worlds leading global premium spirits company,  completed the acquisition of Cooley Distillery and Kilbeggan distilleries.


The acquisition includes the Kilbeggan, Connemara, Tyrconnell and Greenore brands, as well as aging inventory and Cooley's malt and grain distilleries in Dundalk and Kilbeggan, Ireland.


Cooley (in 2012) was one of only three sources for Irish whiskey and was the category's only remaining independent producer. The purchase price was approximately $95 million on a debt-free basis. Beam expects the acquisition to be earnings neutral in 2012 reflecting substantial initial brand investment, and increasingly accretive in future years.


This take over gives Beam access to the fast-growing Irish Whiskey Category and an opportunity to expand the award-winning brands in U.S. and other Key Markets for Irish Whiskey


Cooley Distillery  was the only independent Irish owned distillery in Ireland, founded in 1987 by John Teeling, a highly respected Irish entrepreneur. It was during his studies at Harvard University in the early 1970's that John Teeling identified the decline of Irish whiskey as an opportunity to reverse this situation.


John Teeling bought the former State owned potato alcohol plant in the Cooley peninsula on Ireland's east coast. This alcohol plant was converted in less than two years into two distilleries - a pot still and a patent still operation. This marked the first rival to Irish Distillers, who up to this point were the sole producer of Irish whiskey in the world. Meanwhile Willie McCarter, who had been in the US as a student at the same time as John Teeling and shared the vision, acquired some of the assets of the old A.A. Watt distillery in Co. Derry. In 1988 Willie McCarter merged his interests with John Teeling.


Initially the distillery had its problems, not least of which was cash flow and the attempted takeover bid by the Irish Distillers Group. Eventually the distillery found backing from a number of international companies including Moet-Hennessy.  


This strengthened the company and enabled it to revive distillation in 1995. Cooley has since gone from strength to strength including the development of supermarket brand label whiskeys, in 1996 launched the Connemara a pure pot still peated single malt whiskey.


Another Irish entrepreneur, Paul Power, and Lee Mallagahan, the former owner of Locke's Distillery joined the Cooley board. which soon acquired the brand names of Andrew A. Watt and Co. of Derry, Northern Ireland (established in 1762) and John Locke and Co. of Kilbeggan (established in 1757). The latter has the distinction of being the oldest licensed distillery in the world. The Cooley whiskeys are transported by road for maturation at the Old Locke's Distillery buildings in Kilbeggan in Co. Westmeath.


Irish Blended Whiskey


Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey

Kilbeggan is, Gaelic for "little church”. first appeared as a John Locke's brand over 100 years ago and was sold successfully until Locke's distillery ceased production in the 1950's. Locke's distillery is the oldest continuously licensed whiskey distillery in the world dating back to 1757.


Distilled from the purest clear water and the finest malted Irish barley and maize, gently matured for long years in oak casks in the ancient warehouses in Kilbeggan and skilfully blended to create a whiskey of unique smoothness, character and balance.


Kilbeggan Distillery History


Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey Tasting Notes


Locke's Premium Blend Irish Whiskey

Originates from Locke's Distillery in Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath


Locke's Irish Whiskey is made from marrying malt and grain whiskey together. This fine whiskey is double distilled in traditional pot stills and patent stills and uses only the finest malted barley, maize and the purest Irish spring water. Maturation of Locke's Irish Whiskey takes place in the 200 year old warehouses in Kilbeggan. A blend of malt and grain whiskey that has been gently mature in oak casks is used to create the distinct flavour and character that is unique to Locke's Irish Whiskey


Locke's Distillery History


Locke's Premium Irish Whiskey Tasting Notes


Inishowen Peated Irish Whiskey

Inishowen Irish Whiskey is a unique blend whiskey as it is very lightly peated. It contains a number of different types of whiskey which include peated malt whiskey, malt whiskey and grain whiskey.

The use of peated malt is a distinct characteristic, which ensures that Inishowen is the only peated Irish blend whiskey in the world.

The Inishowen Irish Whiskey brand originates from the A.A. Watt distillery in Derry, in the late 1800's.


Inishowen Peated Irish Whiskey Blend

History and Tasting Notes


Millar's Special Reserve Irish Whiskey.

The Millar’s Special Reserve Irish Whiskey brand originates from a company in Dublin called Adam Millar & Company.

The brand was first established in 1843 as a premium Irish Whiskey and was successfully marketed until the 1970's. Millar’s Special Reserve was known throughout Ireland as a classic Dublin sipping whiskey. The traditional method of drinking such a whiskey was to sip it neat and occasionally drink a bottle of Guinness Stout as well.


Millar's Special Reserve  Irish Whiskey

History and Tasting Notes


Irish Single Malt Whiskey.

Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Named after one of the most famous regions in Ireland, Connemara is one of nature's masterpieces. The rugged Atlantic coastline and majestic mountains blend with the rain-soaked peated bog lands to create a landscape of unique natural beauty.


Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey captures the beauty of this region while reviving its traditions. This rare and original find among Irish whiskeys is a single malt, beautifully gilded in peat reek. Managing Director of Cooley Distillery, David Hynes and chairman John Teeling resurrected the traditional Irish custom of drying the malted barley over peat fires with this peated single malt. The smoke rising through the malted barley during this drying process confers the whiskey with a distinct peaty flavour and aroma. These traditional distilling methods combined with natural ingredients and long years in oak casks continue to create a whiskey that is simply exceptional.


Connemara  Single Malt Whiskey History


Connemara  Single Malt Whiskey Tasting Notes


Locke's 8 year old Single Malt Irish Whiskey.

This fine whiskey is distilled in Cooley in traditional pot stills and uses only the finest malted barley and the purest Irish spring water. Locke's Single Malt has a distinctive character and flavour, fully developed through gentle maturation in oak casks held in the 200-year-old warehouses in Kilbeggan in heart of Ireland.


Tyrconnell Single Malt Irish Whiskey.

The Watts distillery dates back to 1762 and had a proud tradition of producing good whiskies. Tyrconnell was their flagship brand, which was a best seller in the United States before Prohibition and is named after a very successful racehorse owned by the Watt family. This historic whiskey brand has been kept alive by Cooley Distillery the only independent distillery in Ireland who has maintained Tyrconnell reputation as shown by its recent Gold Medal win at the 2004 International Wine & Spirits Competition.


Tyrconnell Single Malt Whiskey

History and Tasting Notes


Single Grain Irish  Whiskey.

Greenore Irish Single Grain Whiskey.

Greenore combines only the purest of elements, soft Irish water from the Cooley Mountains and the finest high quality grains. The whiskey is then left to mature in single use bourbon oak casks, sleeping peacefully in ancient granite warehouses that have been home to whiskey for over 200 years. Over these years the Single Grain whiskey combines with the bourbon oak casks and the subtle vanilla tones and honeyed sweetness that so charactise Greenore are imparted giving it its truly distinctive character. This will be a journey of the taste buds for all whiskey drinkers to enjoy.


Greenore Single Grain Irish Whisky Tasting Note.

Award Winning Cooley Distilery


International Wine and Spirit Competition Awards


100 gold medals over the last 10 years


European Distiller Of The Year

2008, 2009, 2010


World Distiller of the Year by the IWSC (2008)


Gold Medals at the 2010 IWSC


Gold Medal & Best in Class,

Kilbeggan 15 Year Old

Tyrconnell Single Malt

Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Sherry Finish  

Tyrconnell 15 Year Old Single Cask

Connemara Sherry Finish

Connemara 12 Year Old Peated  

Greenore 8 Year Old

Greenore 15 Year Old

Lockes 8 Year Old


Gold Medal,

Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Madeira

Dun Lear 8 Yr Old  

Cooley Distillery logo

In the past the Cooley Distillery

has supplied other Brand Whiskies.

this was stopped when the distillery was aquired by

Jim Beam


Single Malt Irish Whiskey


Craona na Mona


Glen Dimplex

John Mark & Robo Irish

Knappouggue Castle 1990, 91, 92, 93

Cooley Malt

Magilligan Cooley PurePot Still

Magilligan Peated Malt 8 Year old

Merry's Single Malt

Michael Collins Single Malt

Old Kilbeggan

Kilbeggan Distillery Reserve

Spirit of Kilbeggan 1 Month

Spirit of Kilbeggan 1 Year

Spirit of Kilbeggan 2 Year



Single Grain Irish Whiskey

Cooley 16 year old 1991


Blended Irish Whiskey

Cassidys Distillers Reserve

Golden Irish


Michael Collins Blend

St Patrick (Russia export)


Independent Bottlers


Spirit Safe

Vom Fass

Whisky Fair

Wild Geese

Connemara Greenore
Lockes Kilbeggan Millar's
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