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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Old Midleton Irish Whiskey Distillery 1825-1975

Midleton Distillery History

Initially run as a family concern calling them selves James Murphy & Co they eventually amalgamated with several other local distillers to be come identified as the Cork Distillers Company.


The property was converted into a distillery in 1825 at some point they installed the world’s largest pot still with a 31,648-gallon capacity. This is equivalent to the capacity of 5 modern large articulated petrol road tankers.The still was operational until 1975 and can be seen outside the Midleton distillery visitor centre.


The distillery also had a further two pot stills and a patent continuous still. At its peak the distillery had 200 people employed and produced 1.5 million litres of whiskey.


Amongst Midleton’s distinctive brands there were Hewitt’s Blend and the famous Paddy Whisky, without the “e”. Originally called the ‘Cork Distilleries Company Old Irish Whiskey’ it was sold by the company representative Paddy O’Flaherty he was so successful that merchants when they placed their orders would simply ask for “Paddy Flaherty’s Whiskey” In a shrewd move the company renamed the whisky as Paddy after their diligent salesman a unique move in the whiskey trade.


The whisky has now gained the e and is now called “Paddy Old Irish Whiskey


The distillery also produced Cork Dry Gin and Nordoff Ireland’s first vodka taken as neutral spirit from the continuous still.


Cork Distillers Co Ltd 1867-1966


The Cork Distilleries Company Ltd was formed in 1867 from the merger of the Midleton (1825-1975) and four Cork city distilleries, North Mall (1779-1920) The Green (1796-1870) Water Course (1795 –1975) Daly’s John Street (1807-1870) This was the first amalgamation of distilleries in the British Isles.


North Mall distillery closed in 1920 when a fire destroyed a large area of the property. However in 1946 a new bottling and vatting facilities was built on site. This became the main distribution centre for Irish Distillers


The Green distillery and Daly’s John Street were both closed in 1869-70 shortly after the amalgamation of CDC some of the property was purchased by J.J Murphy & Co Ltd of Lady Wells Brewery.


The Watercourse distillery was used as maltings and storage during the 1880s with production sent to North Mall However the distillery was reopened in 1918 for the production of Grain spirit until 1975 when the new Midleton started distilling.


The Midleton Distillery had many advantages being situated in the countryside not least of which were the low operating overheads as opposed to those experienced by the City Distillers. The Midleton also boasted not only Irelands but the world's largest still with a capacity of 31,618 gallons.



The beautiful Old Midleton Distillery currently serves as a visitor centre where the history of Irish whiskey may be studied.


The Old Midleton Distillery


Co. Cork


Phone: + 353 21 4613594

The original Midleton distillery building started life as a woollen mill  (1796)  leased by Marcus Lynch who sold the property to the government. They in turn sold it on to Arch Bishop of Cashel for £1750 in 1823. He died the following year so the property reverted to Lord Midleton. He sold the property to James Murphy and his two brothers for £4000.

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